Boston lifts proof of vaccination requirement for businesses

February 19, 2022 GMT

BOSTON (AP) — Boston will no longer require patrons and staff at restaurants, gyms and other indoor locations to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19, Mayor Michelle Wu said Friday.

Wu pointed to public health data released Friday that showed Boston has a 4% community positivity rate, a nearly 91% occupancy rate of adult ICU beds, and seven-day average of adult COVID-19 hospitalizations of 196 per day.

Wu had said earlier the proof of vaccination requirement would be lifted when the community positivity rate fell below 5%, fewer than 95% of ICU beds were occupied and the seven-day average of COVID-19 hospitalizations fell below 200 per day.

The city has now met all three criteria, Wu said. The goal of the policy was to curb a spike in COVID-19 cases driven by the omicron variant.

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Wu called the lifting of the proof of vaccination requirement a “win for every Bostonian who’s done their part to keep our communities safe.”

“The public health data shows that we’re ready to take this step in our recovery,” Wu said in a press release. “This news highlights how much progress we’ve made in our fight against COVID-19 thanks to vaccines and boosters — which have always been our most effective weapon against the pandemic.”

The requirement to wear masks in public indoor spaces in Boston remains in place.

In the coming days, the Boston Public Health Commission will be reviewing the masking order in consultation with the Board of Health, Wu said.

Not everyone was happy with the proof of vaccination requirement.

When she announced the policy in December at a City Hall news conference, protesters could be heard in another part of the building blowing whistles, shouting “Shame on Wu” and singing “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Some smaller businesses, already struggling during the pandemic, had also chafed at the proof of vaccination requirement.