Mayor Michelle Wu announced on Monday that the city of Boston will require patrons and employees of certain indoor businesses to show proof of vaccination to enter.
The requirements, implemented to combat a large surge in COVID-19 infections as the Omicron variant spreads, will go into effect on Jan. 15.
Here’s what to know about the new requirement:
Which venues are required to ask for proof of vaccination?
- Indoor dining establishments, including bars and nightclubs. Food establishments that exclusively offer food and drinks for offsite or outdoor consumption are exempted, as are “charitable food services” like soup kitchens.
- Indoor fitness facilities, including gyms, boutique fitness locations like yoga and pilates studios, dance studios, indoor pools, and other facilities used for fitness classes.
- Indoor entertainment facilities, including movie and performing arts theaters, concert venues, event venues, museums, indoor professional sports arenas, convention centers, bowling alleys, and other recreation centers.
- The policy does not apply to K-12 schools, senior centers, child care programs, and community centers. If a college or university already has required vaccinations for students and staff, the policy will not apply.
How can I prove my vaccination status? And are boosters required?
According to the City of Boston, these types of proof of vaccination will satisfy the requirement:
- A CDC vaccination card
- A digital image of your CDC card
- An image of any official immunization record, or
- A COVID vaccine verification app. Examples include: Clear Health Pass, Common Pass, Key to NYC, VaxYes, IATA Travel Pass, and the Excelsior Pass.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “fully vaccinated” means one dose of a single-shot regimen, such as the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or two doses of an mRNA vaccine such as Pfizer or Moderna. Booster shots are not required under the new policy, according to the city.
Any vaccine authorized for emergency use by either the CDC or the World Health Organization satisfies the vaccination requirement, according to a city spokesperson.
Does the requirement include children? And when does it take effect?
By Jan. 15: People aged 12 and older must show proof of one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to enter covered venues.
By Feb. 15: People aged 12 and older must show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination to enter covered venues.
By March 1: Children ages 5 to 11 must show proof of at least one dose to enter covered venues.
By May 1: All people ages 5 and older must show proof of full vaccination to enter covered venues.
What if someone requests a medical exemption?
According to the City of Boston website, businesses are urged to discuss the request for an exemption and “see if a reasonable accommodation is possible.” The website notes that businesses are not required to provide an accommodation “if doing so would create a direct threat (including contact with an unvaccinated individual) for other customers or employees of the business, or impose an undue hardship on the business.”
What about professional athletes?
There is an exemption for “a professional athlete/sports team who enters a covered premises as part of their regular employment for purposes of competing.” This will apply to Celtics and Bruins players, as well as visiting teams that come to TD Garden.
An exemption also exists for performing artists and those who accompany athletes and performing artists “as part of their regular employment.”
Adam Himmelsbach of the Globe staff contributed.