“Residents should not answer the door unless it is a police officer, and are advised to stay away from windows,” a notice from the governor’s office said. “All businesses in these towns will remain closed until further notice. People should not congregate outside. Residents and businesses should monitor media for further information.”
Signs in the Callahan Tunnel, a major connector between Logan Airport and the city center, announced the stay-home policy in flashing lights: “Shelter in Place is in effect in Boston.”
Across the city and its suburbs, people were awakened by early-morning “reverse 911” calls from police, telling them to stay indoors.
Bernard Ohnemus, 80, was awakened by one of those calls at 6:45 a.m. at his home in Waltham. He received a second call an hour later, with a recording urging people to keep an eye out for “a brown-eyed, brown curly-haired white male in a gray hoodie.”
Ohnemus said he and his wife, Pat, were spending the day cleaning up the house and keeping up with events on television.
“I’m looking at all of these SWAT guys and I’m thinking to myself, if they ever want to put down an insurrection, they have an army here,” he said. “You don’t realize how many cruisers there are.”
Twitter, Facebook and other social-networking sites buzzed with news of the Boston shutdown.
One resident of Cambridge tweeted: “I fell asleep to the sound of helicopters overhead and woke up to this on my front door- whoa.”
She attached a photo of a piece of paper — dated April 19 at 6:39 a.m. — that said: “This is an important message from the City of Cambridge: Due to the ongoing police investigation in Watertown and the surrounding area, police are advising residents to shelter in place.” It added, “Please stay vigilant and call 9-1-1 immediately if you witness any suspicious activity.”
Norfolk Street in Cambridge, where the Tsarnaev family lives, bristled with activity as police surrounded the house and cleared the street.
When police knocked on Vanessa Buttolph’s door and told her to leave, she grabbed what was dearest to her: her viola.
“It’s the most important thing I own,” the musician, 24, said.
The police also knocked on the door of Tim Fiedler, 23, who lives on Norfolk Street.
“When big men with guns and bulletproof vests order you to get out, you get out,” he said.
Although almost everyone complied with the shutdown orders Friday, a few people staged quiet rebellions. Shortly after noon, a sole jogger ran along Memorial Drive on the banks of the Charles. One other person rode a bike nearby.
In the otherwise shuttered Harvard Square in Cambridge, Paul Spagnuolo manned a newsstand that remained open for business in the rushless morning rush hour.
“We don’t let anything, even crazed bombers, get in our way,” he said.
Later in the morning, his stand was closed and empty.
Sullivan reported from Washington. Mary Beth Sheridan in Cambridge, Dan Keating in Boston and Masuma Ahuja in Washington contributed to this report.