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Tipsheet

Democratic City Signals The End to Vaccine Passports

AP Photo/Angie Wang

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu announced this week that the city will drop its proof-of-vaccine mandate if case rates, hospitalizations, and ICU capacity stays below certain thresholds. 

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The mandate, which took effect January 15, requires that all patrons at certain indoor businesses show proof of vaccination against the Wuhan coronavirus to enter. Establishments that offer indoor dining, including bars and nightclubs, indoor fitness, and indoor entertainment are required to abide by the policy. Cities like Washington, D.C. and San Francisco have similar proof-of-vaccine mandates in place.

“The data makes clear that Boston’s policies to boost vaccination and public health have been working, and we are coming down from the recent Omicron-driven surge,” Wu said, according to The Boston Globe. 

“The fastest way to help ensure we are relieving pressure on hospital capacity and driving down community positivity is to keep closing gaps with vaccination and boosters,” Wu added, noting that she feels “encouraged” by the current trends.

Wu outlined that proof-of-vaccine rules will end once three criteria are met: the occupancy rate of beds in the hospitals’ ICUs falls below 95 percent, the city records fewer than 200 COVID-19 hospitalizations per day, and that the community positivity rate dips below 5 percent. The Globe noted that Boston’s community positivity rate this week was around 7 percent. 

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“It’s been coming down quickly,” Wu said. 

The Globe noted that the mandate has received “mixed reviews” from business owners. 

“While some welcome the clear rules from the city, others say the burden of enforcing them is falling mainly on businesses that are already struggling amid the pandemic,” The Globe stated.

Bob Luz, president of the Massachusetts Restaurants Association, told The Globe that the mandate led to a dramatic decrease in business at restaurants. 

”It’s in the best interest for the recovery of small business in Boston to have the mandate rescinded as soon as possible,” Luz said. “We just need to remove the cloud on Boston from this rule. We need to put the genie back into the bottle.”

“Just pick a date,” when the mandate can end, Luz said.

Wu told reporters that even if the proof-of-vaccine mandate is lifted, mask mandates will likely stay in place. 

“The mask mandate, we are not yet there in terms of pulling,” Wu said Tuesday.

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