Updated: Dec 28, 2021
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu announced the city’s new vaccine passport system on Monday, which will ban the unvaccinated from gyms, bars, theaters, and sports arenas.
“Vaccination is the most powerful tool we have to fight this pandemic,” said Wu when announcing her new policy.
City workers will also have to have received at least one dose of the vaccine by January 15 and two doses by February 15 and will not have the option for weekly testing. The vaccine passport system for patrons at various indoor businesses will have the same deadlines.
“Roughly 90% of the city’s 18,000 employees are in compliance with the current vaccine mandate,” reported the Boston Herald.
“In Boston, 70 percent of adults are vaccinated and 80 percent have gotten at least one dose, but Wu said her stricter policies are intended to boost vaccination and booster rates as cases once again surge and a new highly contagious variant of concern — omicron — drives the current spread,” the report continued.
Police Sergeant Shana Cottone (C) protests the new vaccine mandate at City Hall in Boston, Massachusetts on December 20, 2021. (JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)
Demonstrators, including many first responders, protest the new vaccine mandate at City Hall in Boston, Massachusetts, on December 20, 2021. ( JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)
Protesters present for Wu’s announcement shouted “USA!” and sang the National Anthem, to which she replied, “There is nothing more American than coming together to ensure that we are taking care of each other.”
Geoff Diehl, Republican candidate for governor in Massachusetts, denounced the passport system, calling them “clear violations of the civil rights of anyone who lives in, works in or travels to the city, and will make it even more difficult for Boston’s economy to recover from the pandemic.”
Boston First Responders United, which represents EMTs, firefighters, and police said they will fight the mandates in court. Likewise, the National Federation for Independent Businesses said in a statement that businesses are already struggling enough and should be forced to do the government’s job.
“It is unfortunate that, once again, private businesses are being placed in the unenviable position of having to enforce another government health directive,” said Christopher Carlozzi, State Director for NFIB in Massachusetts.
“Even though small business owners are currently struggling to fully staff their restaurants and venues, they will now be responsible for enforcing the city’s newest public health mandate, too,” he added.
Los Angeles and New York City require proof of vaccination to enter certain businesses.