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Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) timeline

We have a timeline below of recent coronavirus-related developments in the City of Boston.

  • On November 2, the state announced a series of targeted measures to disrupt the increasing trend of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, including:
  • On October 21, Boston Public Schools announced that due to a rising COVID-19 infection rate in the City, all students will shift to remote learning.
  • Mayor Walsh's executive order to exempt all establishments from the plastic bag ordinance will stay in place until September 30, assuming no major change in information or circumstances.
  • Step 1 of Phase 3 will begin on Monday, July 6, except for Boston, where it will begin on Monday, July 13. An updated gathering advisory goes into effect on July 6 as well, except for in Boston, where it will take effect on July 13. We continue to update City-specific guidance for Boston on our reopening website. Park facilities, including athletic fields, courts, splash pads, and playgrounds are open as of July 13, 2020, as part of the City of Boston’s Phase 3 reopening
  • Starting on Monday, July 13, Boston Centers for Youth and Families (BCYF) is now offering programs and classes for Boston youth this summer. These free programs will be held both remotely and in-person at BCYF community centers across the City.
  • Starting on Monday, July 6, we are offering free breakfast and lunch sites across the City for youth and teens through the Summer Eats program.
  • As of June 22, Boston Public Library patrons will be able to pick up physical items such as books, DVDs, and CDs from select Boston Public Library locations. The program, called “BPL to Go,” will allow patrons to “order” items from the library by placing a hold on them, then safely pick them up from select branches.
  • On June 10, 2020, Mayor Walsh and the City of Boston Licensing Board announced increased outdoor seating for restaurants in Boston.
  • On Thursday, May 28, Mayor Walsh announced that the Boston Marathon has been canceled as a mass participation road running event, but will instead be held as a virtual event. The City of Boston also released a return to workplace framework for commercial spaces in the City. We're also planning to reimagine streets in Boston to better support local businesses and restaurants.
  • On Monday, May 18, the state released its reopening Massachusetts plan, with information on how and when different industries can reopen. While construction and manufacturing can resume, the City of Boston is reopening construction in a phased manner. We will allow work on schools, hospitals, some residential work, and open-air construction until May 25. Starting May 26, the City will permit any construction type that is allowed by the state, with the required COVID-19 Safety Affidavits and COVID-19 Safety Plans for permitted construction work in place.
  • On Friday, May 15, the City of Boston released the results of a recent COVID-19 study. The study, which evaluated community exposure to COVID-19 through a representative sampling of asymptomatic Boston residents, resulted in 9.9% testing positive for antibodies and 2.6% of currently asymptomatic individuals testing positive for COVID-19. Learn more about the study.
  • On Friday, May 8, Mayor Walsh announced that parades and festivals will not take place in the City of Boston this summer, up to and including Labor Day on September 7, 2020.
  • On Wednesday, May 6, the City of Boston has launched a major expansion of its COVID-19 testing, with the goal of reaching an average of at least 1,500 diagnostic tests each day. The Boston Resiliency Fund also awarded an additional $1 million in grants to assist 14 organizations working to help residents impacted most by COVID-19.
  • On Friday, May 1, Governor Baker ordered all Massachusetts residents to wear a mask in public places when it is not possible to maintain proper social distance.
  • On Wednesday, April 29, a Public Health Advisory for everyone in Boston, except essential workers, to stay at home from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. each day has been extended until May 18.
  • On Tuesday, April 28, Governor Baker extended the state's limit on gatherings and the closure of non-essential businesses until May 18. A stay-at-home advisory remains in effect.
  • On Monday, April 27, The City of Boston and Public Health Commission have extended the public health emergency declaration until further notice.
  • On Sunday, April 16, Mayor Walsh announced that 1,000 residents in the City of Boston will be invited to take part in a Massachusetts General Hospital study to evaluate community exposure to COVID-19 through antibody testing.
  • On Tuesday, April 21, Governor Baker announced the closure of K-12 schools in Massachusetts and non-emergency childcare programs through the end of the school year.
  • On Sunday, April 19, the City deployed seven Boston Public Works trucks with sound equipment to broadcast a message about COVID-19 in City neighborhoods. The message was broadcasted in seven languages, depending on the community.
  • On Saturday, April 18, Mayor Walsh announced the launch of Good Neighbors, a free platform that connects older, at-risk individuals with volunteers in their community to fulfill basic needs, including door-step deliveries.
  • For One Boston Day on Wednesday, April 15, Mayor Walsh asked residents to participate by downloading a checklist with acts of kindness they could safely do from home. The City of Boston also hosted an online interfaith prayer service. Learn more about our One Boston Day efforts this year.
  • On Thursday, April 9, a new mortgage relief partnership with 12 of the largest housing lenders in Boston was created to aid homeowners during the pandemic. The City secured 334 dedicated beds to reduce the spread of COVID-19 among Boston's first responders, shelter staff, and veterans living in group homes. Mayor Walsh also created a COVID-19 Health Inequities Task Force to provide guidance on addressing current inequities for Blacks, Latinos, Asians, and immigrants.
  • On Tuesday, April 7, Mayor Walsh and the Transportation Department announced ticket amnesty for healthcare workers during the public health emergency. In addition, we have launched a new mapping tool for healthcare workers to find parking spaces in Boston. 
  • On Sunday, April 5Mayor Walsh announced strict new measures for social and physical distancing for Boston residents, effective Monday, April 6, through Monday, May 4, 2020. The City is encouraging everyone to wear a face covering over their mouth and nose when in public. The Boston Public Health Commission is issuing a Public Health Advisory for everyone in Boston except essential workers to stay at home from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. each day. We're also closing City parks with recreational sports areas. City Hall will only be open to the public on Tuesdays and Fridays, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Everyone entering City Hall, including employees, must complete a self-screening for COVID-19 symptoms. If you need to visit City Hall for essential services, you must make an appointment.
  • On Tuesday, March 31, Governor Baker extended his emergency order requiring all non-essential businesses to close their physical workplaces until Monday, May 4. The order still limits gatherings to 10 people.
  • On Monday, March 30, Mayor Walsh announced that a new partnership will help create subsidized housing for 1,000 Boston Public Schools families at risk of displacement and experiencing homelessness. The City released a comprehensive plan for those experiencing homelessness in Boston during the public health emergency.
  • On Thursday, March 26, Mayor Walsh and the Boston Transportation Department (BTD) announced updated enforcement regulations and transportation services.
  • On Wednesday, March 25, Governor Charlie Baker issued an emergency order extending the closure of all public and private schools, and all non-emergency childcare programs, until May 4 in an effort to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth. Read the press release.
  • ​​​​​On Monday, March 23, Governor Baker issued an emergency order requiring all employers that do not provide “COVID-19 Essential Services” to close their physical workplaces and facilities to workers, customers, and the public from Tuesday, March 24, at 12 p.m. (noon) until Tuesday, April 7 at noonExempt industries include: healthcare, public safety, groceries and take-out restaurants, utilities and infrastructure, and other essential services. The Order also limits gatherings to 10 people during the state of emergency, a reduction from the 25-person limit established in an earlier order. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is issuing a two-week stay-at-home advisory outlining self-isolation and social distancing protocols. Pharmacies, grocery stores, restaurant take-out and delivery, and parks will remain open for passive activities (no groups or sports).
  • On Friday, March 19, the Boston Water and Sewer Commission suspended all residential water service terminations. The commission is not adding delinquency charges to any late-paid bills during this time.
  • On Thursday, March 18, the City of Boston temporarily closed all playgrounds and tot lots. Parks will remain open for passive use, but we encourage everyone to practice social distancing while enjoying nature. Maintenance in our parks will continue. Read more Parks and Recreation updates.
  • On Tuesday, March 17, Mayor Walsh delivered an address about the coronavirus crisis in Boston. You can read and watch the speech online.
  • On Monday, March 16, 2020, Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF) closed all BCYF community center pools, gyms, and fitness centers. By Wednesday, all BCYF programming will be suspended. Only select centers will be open for youth meal distribution throughout the Boston Public Schools closure. All Boston Public Library locations, including the central branch, will also close at 6 p.m. on Monday. Effective Tuesday, March 17, the City is suspending all regular activity at construction sites in Boston. The MBTA also announced that reduced service would begin Tuesday, March 17. Visit the MBTA's website for more details. Read the press release for more information on the recent closures.
  • On Sunday, March 15, 2020Governor Baker issued an emergency order limiting gatherings to 25 people and prohibiting on-premises consumption of food or drink at bars and restaurants, beginning on March 17 and effective through April 5. The Governor's order will be in effect in Boston beginning March 17. Read the City of Boston Licensing Board advisory.
  • On Sunday, March 15, 2020, Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) is declaring a public health emergency in the City of Boston due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Also on Sunday, effective immediately and until further notice, restaurants, bar rooms, and nightclubs are required to reduce capacity by 50 percent, remove tables and chairs to reflect that reduced capacity, follow the guidelines around social distancing, and not allow lines outside. Hours will be reduced to close at 11 p.m. Any establishment that is found in violation of these regulations will be shut down for 30 days. This applies to anyone with a CV license. Additionally, beer gardens will not be opening until this public health crisis is over. Read the press release.
  • On Saturday, March 14, 2020, Mayor Walsh, the Greater Boston Real Estate Board and its entity the Massachusetts Apartment Association, and the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations announced a partnership to impose a moratorium on evictions while Massachusetts is under a state of emergency. Read the press release.
  • On Friday, March 13, 2020, Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Boston Public Schools Superintendent Brenda Cassellius announced the district-wide closure of all Boston Public Schools for students, effective on Tuesday, March 17. Read the press release.
  • On Friday, March 13, 2020, the City of Boston, along with the Boston Athletic Association, announced the 2020 Boston Marathon will be postponed until Monday, September 14, 2020.
  • On March 11, 2020, Boston health officials announced the closure of Eliot K-8 School due to coronavirus concerns.
  • On March 10, 2020, Governor Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency to support the Commonwealth's response to coronavirus
  • Out of an abundance of caution, the St. Patrick's Day Parade in South Boston on Sunday, March 15, 2020, was canceled. You can read the Mayor's statement online.
  • On Sunday, March 8, 2020, BPHC announced five new presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Boston residents. These cases include one woman in her 30s, one woman in her 60s, one man in his 40s, one man in his 50s and one man in his 60s. They did not require hospitalization and are self-isolating at home. All five cases had a direct connection to the Biogen employee conference at the end of February.
  • On Friday, March, 6, 2020, BPHC and the Massachusetts Department of Public health announced three presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Boston residents. Two females and a male, all in their 40s, did not require hospitalization and are recovering and self-isolating at home.
  • On February 1, 2020, the City of Boston announced its first confirmed case of COVID-19, a male in his 20s returning from Wuhan, China. He did not require hospitalization and is recovering and self-isolating at home.