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Boston lifts COVID-19 vaccine mandate for businesses

“The public health data shows that we’re ready to take this step in our recovery,” Wu said Friday.

David L. Ryan/Globe Staff
“This news highlights how much progress we’ve made in our fight against COVID-19 thanks to vaccines and boosters," Mayor Michelle Wu said in a statement late Friday about the lifting of the city's proof-of-vaccination requirement in certain indoor spaces. DAVID L. RYAN/GLOBE STAFF

Effectively immediately, patrons and staff at Boston’s restaurants, bars, clubs, gyms and indoor venues no longer have to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination, Mayor Wu announced Friday evening.

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Wu’s announcement comes as public health data shows Boston has a 4 percent community positivity rate, a 90.7% adult ICU bed occupancy rate; and a week-long average of adult COVID-19 hospitalizations at 196 per day. All three conditions fall below thresholds previously set by the city’s B Together campaign.  

“The public health data shows that we’re ready to take this step in our recovery,” Mayor Wu said in a press release sent just before 6 p.m. Friday. “This news highlights how much progress we’ve made in our fight against COVID-19 thanks to vaccines & boosters — which have always been our most effective weapon against the pandemic. It’s a win for every Bostonian who’s done their part to keep our communities safe, and we have to keep going. I want to thank all of our small businesses who have been working to keep our communities healthy through challenging times.”

Masks are still required in indoor public spaces. Wu said city health officials will review the mask order in the coming days.

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The COVID-19 vaccine mandate was met with mixed reactions after going into effect on Jan. 15; the first phase required anyone age 12 and older to show proof of at least one dose to enter indoor businesses. The second phase went into effect on Feb. 15, and required proof of full vaccination. 

Wu grappled with backlash as soon as the mandate went into effect, and tweeted about early-morning protesters outside her home. Wu’s announcement Friday was mostly met with approval by her Twitter followers. 

“Thank you for watching out for us. I’m fully vaccinated and boosted but I have a chronic illness that, if I somehow got this thing, could definitely put me on the slab. Appreciate you following the science,” said one Twitter user.

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