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Boston lifts its proof of vaccination requirement for indoor businesses

The city of Boston is lifting its proof of COVID vaccination mandate for patrons and staff of restaurants, gyms and other indoor recreational venues, effective immediately.

Mayor Michelle Wu and Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, the city's executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission, announced the change in a statement Friday evening, citing improved data around COVID cases and hospital capacity.

Earlier this month, as infections were declining from the peak of the omicron surge, Wu announced her administration would lift the vaccine requirement if three of the city's health metrics fell below a certain level, on a weekly average: less than 95% of adult ICU beds occupied, less than 200 daily COVID hospitalizations and less than a 5% citywide positive test rate.

As of Friday evening, the city's health data showed Boston had met those three benchmarks, including a 4% positive test rate.

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

The repeal of the mandate comes just days after the second phase took effect Tuesday, requiring staff and patrons of the age 12 to show proof they were fully vaccinated.

"It’s a win for every Bostonian who’s done their part to keep our communities safe, and we have to keep going," Wu added. "I want to thank all of our small businesses who have been working to keep our communities healthy through challenging times.”

For now, the city's indoor mask mandate remains in place. However, the statement said the Boston Public Health Commission and the city's board of health will also review that policy "in the coming days."

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