COVID

Phase 2 of Boston’s indoor vaccine mandate is now in effect. Here’s what to know.

The city's vaccine policy is continuing on for the time being.

A sign mandating proof of COVID vaccination hangs on a door outside the House of Blues in Boston. Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff
COVID VACCINE MANDATE

The second phase of Boston’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement for patrons and staff at certain indoor venues took hold on Tuesday.

The policy, or the “B Together” initiative, for places such as restaurants, gyms, museums, and other establishments was announced by Mayor Michelle Wu in December and took hold on Jan. 15.

Under the first phase, people ages 12 and older were required to show proof of having received at least one dose of vaccine to enter those spaces.

Under phase two, people ages 12 and older must show proof of full vaccination, or two doses, to enter.

However, the policy gives businesses some discretion: Establishments can opt to let in a vaccinated minor who cannot show proof of vaccination “if the minor or an accompanying adult can offer a reasonable explanation.”

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The next phase begins in two weeks on March 1, when children ages 5 to 11 must show proof of having received at least one dose of vaccine. The fourth and final phase, which requires anyone over the age of 5 to show proof of full vaccination, begins on May 1.

But it remains to be seen whether further phases of the policy will be necessary.

Last week, as COVID cases and hospitalizations continued to fall in Boston and around Massachusetts, Wu outlined the public health metrics she is following closely that will determine whether the city lifts the vaccine mandate.

For Boston to end the policy, the city would need to achieve:

  • Less than 95 percent of ICU beds occupied
  • Less than 200 COVID-19 hospitalizations per day
  • A community positivity rate below 5 percent, as defined by the BPHC’s seven-day moving average

As of Sunday, the number of occupied ICU beds had fallen to 90.9 percent and hospitalizations hung at 292.9 per day, according to the latest available data from the Boston Public Health Commission.

The city’s positivity was 5.4 percent as of Friday.

To comply with the policy, individuals can show their official U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccination card, a digital image of one’s CDC card or other immunization record, or a COVID vaccine verification app.

Businesses are required to post a printed notice to inform patrons of the policy.

Residents can call 311 to report a business that is not following the requirement. Violators can be hit with a $300 fine for each violation following a first-time warning.

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Boston’s indoor mask mandate also remains in place. Wu has not provided framework for lifting that policy, although she told GBH News on Monday the rule will lift only after the indoor vaccine mandate ends.

“We want to see those similar thresholds, but additionally with some continued downward trends,” Wu said.

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