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Boston: Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination to Enter Certain Indoor Venues; Workers Must Be Vaccinated

  • December 20, 2021

Newly elected Boston Mayor Michelle Wu has announced that, starting on January 15, 2022, individuals will be required to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 in order to enter certain indoor spaces in Boston. People working in those locations also will be required to have received their vaccines.

This new policy is in addition to the City’s existing indoor mask mandate.

Covered Locations

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

Indoor Dining (portions of food service establishments offering food and drink, including those identified below)*

Indoor Entertainment, Recreational, and Event Venues (including those listed below)

Indoor Gyms and Fitness Settings (including those listed below)

Restaurants

Movie theaters

Commercial gyms and fitness centers

Bars

Music or concert venues

Yoga, Pilates, barre, and dance studios

All indoor dining areas of food service establishments

Commercial event and party venues

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 for conducting group fitness classes

 

Performing arts theaters

 

 

Bowling alleys

 

 

Other recreational centers

 

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

Employees working in these covered locations also must be vaccinated. Covered businesses are responsible for checking proof of vaccination and posting a notice (available here) about the COVID-19 vaccine requirement at their entrance.

The policy excludes pre-kindergarten through grade 12 public and non-public schools and programs, child care programs, senior centers, and community centers. The policy does not apply to indoor college and university spaces that already require vaccination for all members of the community.

Proof of Vaccination

Individuals may demonstrate their vaccination status with any of the following:

  • A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) vaccination card;
  • A digital image of their CDC vaccination card;
  • An image or printout of any official immunization record;
  • A City of Boston-designated app containing a digital image of any official immunization record; or
  • Another COVID-19 vaccine verification app.

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

Covered businesses must require proof of vaccination. If a customer requests an exemption from the vaccine requirement due to a disability, the City’s website advises the covered business to:

engage with them in a cooperative dialogue to see if a reasonable accommodation is possible. A business does not have to provide a reasonable 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.

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

Compliance Timeline

The timeline for compliance with the B Together policy is:

Date

Requirement

January 15, 2022

People age 12 and over must show proof of one dose of vaccine

February 15, 2022

People age 12 and over must show proof of full vaccination

March 1, 2022

Children ages 5-11 must show proof of one dose of vaccine

May 1, 2022

People ages 5 and over must show proof of full vaccination

 

Enforcement

City inspectors will check for compliance. Businesses that are found not in compliance will receive a warning. If businesses continue not to comply, they may be fined or face other enforcement action.

Jackson Lewis attorneys are closely monitoring updates and changes to legal requirements and guidance and are available to help employers weed through the complexities involved with state-specific or multistate-compliant plans.

If you have questions or need assistance, please reach out to the Jackson Lewis attorney with whom you regularly work, or any member of our COVID-19 team.

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