With cases of COVID-19 beginning to surge again and the colder winter months arriving, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said Tuesday she’s exploring options to implement a vaccine mandate for businesses like restaurants and performance venues, but was not ready yet to commit to the policy.
Wu endorsed the idea during her campaign of requiring proof-of-vaccination for patrons of city eateries, theaters and concert venues, similar to the policy used in New York City. During an appearance on GBH’s Boston Public Radio on Tuesday, Wu said said was looking “internally and externally” at all of her options.
“I still very much think we should be taking all possible action to protect our community members, to protect customers and those who might be wanting to attend these events. The way to head off a shutdown is for everyone to get vaccinated and to be protected,” Wu said.
Pushed on whether that meant she intended to impose a proof-of-vaccination requirement, Wu said was talking with the Boston Public Health Commission “on what those standards will look like and to do so in away that would not put the burden on our small business owners and organization leaders.”
“We’re looking at cases very closely and the policies will follow that very closely, but nothing to announce today,” Wu said.
Boston, unlike some cities and towns in Massachusetts, has masking requirements for indoor public spaces, but requiring proof of vaccination would be an escalation of the public health protections that city has sought to impose on businesses.
Wu said Boston was “seeing a surge” in COVID-19 cases, and asked the public and civic leaders for help in encouraging more people, particularly newly eligible young people, to get vaccinated.
“We need to make sure that we’re not easing up, that we’re not letting it rip,” Wu said.
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