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Boston’s COVID-19 indoor vaccine mandate tightens, while data continues to show virus on the decline

The city of Boston’s indoor vaccine mandate tightened another notch Tuesday, even as data suggested COVID-19 is declining — to the point the mandate could soon be lifted.

As of Tuesday, everyone age 12 and over must show proof of full vaccination to be admitted to certain indoor spaces in Boston, including indoor dining, fitness, and entertainment venues. The mandate first went into effect Jan. 15, when people 12 and over had to show proof of only one shot.

Mayor Michelle Wu has said she will lift the mandate, known as the B Together policy, when three coronavirus metrics reach certain targets. And, with the Omicron-fueled surge on the wane in recent weeks, the three metrics are showing encouraging signs, including one that has already reached Wu’s target.

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Wu told reporters Tuesday that “we are seeing very, very good progress in terms of the metrics here” and “if the numbers continue along the trends that we’re seeing, we could see this policy lifted even in the next few days or so.”

“The fastest way to keep those numbers coming down is, again, to continue getting vaccinated and boosted. We continue to offer vaccination clinics throughout the city,” she said.

Wu has said she wants fewer than 95 percent of ICU beds to be occupied. That number stood at 91.1 percent late Tuesday afternoon, according to the city’s coronavirus dashboard.

Wu has called for a community positivity rate of less than 5 percent. That number had dropped to 5.4 percent, according to the dashboard.

Wu has said she wants the number of adult COVID-19 hospitalizations to be less than 200 a day. That number was 272.1 a day, the dashboard said.

Speaking at a virtual City Council hearing on Friday, Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, executive director at the city’s public health commission, said the coronavirus metrics had made “significant progress.”

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“Based on our current projections, I anticipate that all three of these thresholds will be met in the coming weeks,” she said.

Bob Luz, president and chief executive of the Massachusetts Restaurant Association, said in an e-mail that the numbers were “certainly falling fast and trending in the right direction.”

He said it was “important to remove the cloud over Boston and get our capital city up and running again. ... We are hoping it will be lifted any day now.”

Neighboring Brookline also has a vaccine mandate. The North Shore city of Salem has dropped its vaccine mandate as the fast-moving Omicron surge has receded across the state.

Boston still requires that people wear masks in many indoor public settings, including stores, restaurants, and bars. Wu said the city would make a separate decision on dropping the mask mandate.

She said the Boston Public Health Commission would like to see data “ensuring that we are on a downward trend” before acting.

The state on Tuesday loosened its recommendation for masking, saying vaccinated people only needed to wear masks in indoor public settings if they were members of vulnerable groups or lived with someone vulnerable. Unvaccinated people also should wear masks in indoor public settings, officials said.

Danny McDonald and Emma Platoff of the Globe staff contributed to this report.


Martin Finucane can be reached at martin.finucane@globe.com.