BOSTON (AP) — Boston's Housing Authority is extending its moratorium on nonessential evictions through the end of the year to give thousands of lower income residents relief during the coronavirus pandemic, Mayor Marty Walsh said Friday.

The Democrat said the moratorium, which was originally put in place in March, will also help reduce the risk of transmitting the virus through court hearings on eviction cases.

"These are extraordinary times, and right now, we all need to come together to ensure that our city's most vulnerable residents are able to continue to live and work in the city they call home," Walsh said in a statement.

Nonessential evictions include all eviction proceedings except for those related to criminal activity and those necessary to protect public health and safety, the mayor's office said.

Housing authority residents unable to pay rent should notify their housing manager or landlord and establish a plan for repayment as the moratorium is temporary and tenants will still be required to pay their rent at some point, the mayor's office said.

The housing authority provides affordable housing to nearly 60,000 residents.

WinnCompanies, a major owner and operator of apartments complexes in the state, announced earlier that it will halt evictions for tenants struggling to pay rent because of the virus through the end of the year.

A statewide eviction and foreclosure moratorium is slated to expire on Aug. 18.

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