Democratic Boston Mayor Michelle Wu announced the new mandate on Monday, saying it will go into effect for all indoor businesses in the city on January 15. It was part of what the mayor dubbed the ‘B Together’ initiative in response to a spike in Covid cases.
City workers will no longer be given the option of weekly testing and will instead be mandated to get inoculated amid an Omicron wave hitting the city. According to the mayor, over 90% of city employees are already vaccinated.
“The vast majority of Covid-related hospitalizations are of unvaccinated individuals, which is impacting our entire health care system and compromising the health of our communities,” she said at an event where she was reportedly met with anti-mandate protesters, some chanting, “Shame on Wu.”
— Sharman Sacchetti (@SharmanTV) December 20, 2021
Protesters in lobby of Boston City Hall as Mayor Michelle Wu announces newly strengthened COVID vaccination mandate for city employees, plus proof of vax requirement for customers & workers at restaurants, gyms, theaters, sports venues. #wbzpic.twitter.com/UdPGV1nb9U
— Christina Hager (@HagerWBZ) December 20, 2021
The city’s mandate will apply to indoor businesses like gyms, restaurants, theaters, recreation centers. etc. According to the mandate, all citizens ages 12 and up will need to show proof of at least one vaccine jab and, one month later, they will need to prove they are fully inoculated before entering a business. By May, everyone aged five and up will need to show proof of full vaccination.
Here’s the timeline we’re working with:👉 1/15: People 12+ must show proof of 1 vax dose👉 2/15: People 12+ must show proof of full vax👉 3/1: Children 5–11 must show proof of 1 vax dose👉 5/1: People 5+ must show proof of full vax
— Mayor Michelle Wu 吳弭 (@MayorWu) December 20, 2021
One can prove their vaccination status either through a city sponsored app, a physical vaccination card, or a digital image of your vaccination card. The government will be offering webinars to local businesses on how to implement the new mandate.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health reported over 6,000 new Covid cases on Friday, plus 45 deaths, the highest rise in cases and deaths in months. Approximately 68% of Boston citizens are vaccinated right now, the mayor said.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has said he is working with other states to take part in a digital vaccine card program, but has also said that he opposes mandates.