Boston requires proof of vaccination for indoor venues

Newly elected Boston Mayor Michelle Wu announced that beginning January 15, 2022, individuals will be required to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination in order to enter certain indoor spaces in Boston. People working in these places will also need to have received their vaccinations.

This new policy is in addition to the City’s current policy inner mask mandate.

Covered pitches

The new policy, dubbed “B Together,” covers select indoor locations offering indoor dining, indoor fitness and indoor entertainment.

Indoor dining (parts of food and beverage establishments, including those identified below)*

Indoor entertainment, leisure and event venues (including those listed below)

Indoor gymnasiums and fitness facilities (including those listed below)

Restaurants

Movie theater

Commercial gyms and fitness centers

Bars

Music or concert halls

Yoga, Pilates, barre and dance studios

All indoor dining areas of catering establishments

Commercial venues for events and parties

Boxing and kickboxing gyms

Museums and galleries

Fitness Boot Camps

Professional sports arenas and indoor stadiums

Indoor pools

Convention centers and exhibition halls

Other facilities used to conduct group fitness classes

Performing arts theaters

bowling alleys

Other leisure centers

*Excludes (1) food service establishments offering food or beverages exclusively for off-site or outdoor consumption, and (2) food service establishments offering charitable food service, such as soup kitchens.

Employees working in these covered places must also be vaccinated. Covered businesses are responsible for verifying proof of vaccination and posting a notice (available here) on the COVID-19 vaccine requirement upon entry.

The policy excludes public and non-public K-12 schools and programs, child care programs, senior centers and community centers. The policy does not apply to indoor areas of colleges and universities which already require vaccination of all members of the community.

Proof of vaccination

Individuals can demonstrate their vaccination status with one of the following:

  • A vaccination card from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC);

  • A digital image of their CDC vaccination card;

  • A picture or printout of any official vaccination records;

  • An app designated by the City of Boston containing a digital image of any official immunization record; Where

  • Another COVID-19 Vaccine Checker App.

There is no policy requirement to have a vaccine booster to enter indoor facilities. However, the Boston Public Health Commission, in consultation with public health data and guidance from the CDC, may change this provision in the future.

Covered businesses should require proof of vaccination. If a client requests an exemption from the vaccination requirement due to a disability, the website advises the covered company to:

engage with them in a cooperative dialogue to see if reasonable accommodation is possible. A business is not required to provide reasonable accommodation if doing so creates a direct threat (including contact with an unvaccinated person) to other customers or employees of the business, or imposes undue hardship on the business .

Covered businesses do not have to check vaccination status to enter for “a quick and limited purpose”, such as using the bathroom, placing an order or making a delivery. Persons entering a location for these limited purposes must wear a face covering.

Compliance Schedule

The deadline for compliance with the B Together policy is as follows:

Dated

Requirement

January 15, 2022

Persons 12 years and older must show proof of a vaccine dose

February 15, 2022

Persons 12 years and older must show proof of full vaccination

March 1, 2022

Children aged 5 to 11 must show proof of a vaccine dose

May 1, 2022

People aged 5 and over must show proof of full vaccination

Enforcement

Municipal inspectors will verify compliance. Companies found to be non-compliant will receive a warning. If companies continue to fail to comply, they may be fined or face other enforcement action.

© 2022 Jackson LewisNational Law Review, Volume XI, Number 355

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