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2021 Boston Marathon public safety and health preparations announced

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Mayor's Office

Learn more about how the City of Boston is preparing ahead of the event.

As the City of Boston prepares for athletes and visitors for the 125th Boston Marathon, Mayor Kim Janey today released public safety and public health preparations to ensure a successful series of events.

“As we welcome back the annual Boston Marathon, I want to remind everyone that this year we must be vigilant with both our public safety and our public health. I encourage spectators to take precautions to keep ourselves safe from the spread of COVID-19,” said Mayor Janey. “Best of luck to all of our athletes. You make the entire City of Boston proud.”

Public Safety

  • Boston Police Department (BPD) will have uniformed and undercover officers along the marathon route.
  • Cameras will be active along the Boston portion of the Marathon route, and observation points will be set up around the finish line area in the Back Bay to monitor the crowd.
  • Spectators are encouraged to leave large items such as backpacks and strollers at home. These items are not banned; however, individuals may be subject to search.
  • Call 9-1-1 in an emergency situation and follow @bostonpolice for race safety updates.
  • Boston Fire will have walking patrols along the course to respond to incidents. Patrols can call-in additional assets, utilizing the alleys and adjacent roadways to the course. Air quality monitoring will also be carried out along the route.
  • Boston Fire will stage its specialized units for Tech Rescue, Haz Mat, Decon, and additional apparatus at strategic locations on both sides of the course.

Emergency Medical Services

  • Boston EMS will have enhanced medical coverage, including additional personnel in the field, dispatch and special operations. 
  • Units will be deployed along the Boston route and in the finish line area, ready to serve anyone requiring medical assistance, including runners, spectators and volunteers. This will include EMTs and paramedics working on ambulances, bikes and carts, as well as in medical stations. 
  • Through close coordination with medical volunteers, Boston EMS works to treat and release as many people on scene as possible, which is intended to mitigate the impact to the hospital system. 
  • Boston EMS plans to increase the number of ambulances citywide to ensure there will be no disruption in services to residents.

Street Closures & Traffic Advisories

Please see attached traffic advisory from the Boston Transportation Department.

  • Vehicle traffic will be prohibited and parking will be restricted on many streets in Boston in the days leading up to the Boston Marathon and on Monday, October 11, 2021.  
  • Using the MBTA to travel to and from Boston on Marathon Monday is strongly recommended. Detailed information on MBTA service can be found at www.MBTA.com. For a faster return trip, the MBTA advises riders to purchase a round-trip rather than a one-way ticket.
  • On Marathon Monday, Newbury Street and Huntington Avenue outbound will be closed to vehicle traffic to allow easier spectator movement in the area.
  • Visitors are encouraged to take advantage of the City’s Bluebikes program.
  • Read all posted signs and variable message boards carefully.

Emergency Communications

  • The City’s Emergency Operations Center will be open on Monday to monitor the races. The EOC will be staffed by our city departments, state agencies and our non-profit partners to coordinate the City’s Operational plan. Additionally, the EOC will monitor the weather, maintain situational awareness regarding the various Marathon events, respond to any resource requests from public safety and manage family reunification if needed.
  • Boston EMS, Police, Fire, and the Office of Emergency Management will have personnel assigned to the multi-agency coordination center at the Massachusetts Emergency Operation Center in Framingham.
  • BPHC will have staffing at the Dispatch Operations Center and Central Medical Emergency Dispatch (CMED) Center where ambulance to hospital communication throughout metropolitan Boston is coordinated.
  • Sign up for AlertBoston to receive emergency notifications from the City at boston.gov/emergency. Alerts are available in multiple languages (Arabic, Chinese, Cape Verdean Creole, French, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Russian, Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese) in order to make them accessible to all.

Public Health

  • The BAA (Boston Athletic Association) and City of Boston have worked together this year to ensure the safety of all participants, staff, volunteers, and spectators.
  • We strongly encourage everyone to practice personal responsibility for the 125th Boston Marathon. From guests traveling with athletes to spectators cheering on participants, everyone is encouraged to take efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
    • These efforts may include:
      • Being fully vaccinated 
      • Getting tested for COVID-19 prior to any travel 
      • Wearing a mask when you cannot socially distance over race week 
    • Only using B.A.A. provided course nutrition in lieu of accepting hydration or food from spectators 
  • This is an entirely outdoor, open-air event. It is encouraged, but not required, to wear masks.
  • Individuals who are not fully vaccinated are at higher risk of suffering severe illness or death from COVID-19 infection.
  • Any participant, volunteer, or spectator exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home.
  • If you do plan to attend, avoid congested areas, wear a mask to cover your nose and mouth, try to maintain six feet of physical distance as much as possible, and wash your hands regularly.
  • To get vaccinated, find a location near you on boston.gov/coronavirus
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