Boston will require proof of COVID-19 vaccine to enter some indoor locations

The Tobin Memorial Bridge, top, stands above the Boston skyline, behind, Wednesday, March 31,...
The Tobin Memorial Bridge, top, stands above the Boston skyline, behind, Wednesday, March 31, 2021, in Chelsea, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)(Steven Senne | AP)
Published: Dec. 20, 2021 at 2:40 PM EST
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BOSTON (AP) — Workers and customers at restaurants, gyms and many other indoor businesses in Boston will be required to show proof of coronavirus vaccination starting in mid-January in an effort to curb a rise in new cases across the city and state.

In addition, city employees will be required to get vaccinated, Mayor Michelle Wu said at a City Hall news conference as protesters blowing whistles, shouting “Shame on Wu,” and singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” could clearly be heard in another part of the building.

“There is nothing more American than coming together to ensure that we’re taking care of each other,” the mayor said in response to the protesters.

City workers had previously been required to show proof of vaccination or submit to regular testing, but the testing option is being eliminated, Wu said. Medical and religious exemptions will be considered. About 90% of the city’s roughly 18,000 workers are already vaccinated, she said.

The indoor mask mandate that takes effect Jan. 15 applies to restaurants, gyms, and indoor recreational facilities including theaters and sports venues, as well as some other businesses, she said. Boston has seen a surge in COVID-19 cases this month and things are expected to get worse next month with the spread of the omicron variant, said Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission.

New positive cases have increased nearly 90% compared to two weeks ago, and the city is now averaging 369 new cases per day, she said. Hospitalizations are up 60% from two weeks ago.

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