Mayor Michelle Wu confirmed Monday that she is implementing a vaccine mandate for all 18,000 City of Boston employees, as Live Boston exclusively reported this past weekend.
Up until now, city employees who elected not to get vaccinated had the option to submit to weekly testing instead. Starting January 15, all city employees must show proof they’ve received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and a second dose by February 15.
“I want to thank everyone who works for the City of Boston because we are already at more than 90% of city workers vaccinated under the existing policy,” Wu said. “This is a response that is rooted in science and public health and we need to take every available action to protect our city’s residents, businesses and institutions.”
However, Wu buried the troubling issues in the vaccine mandate in her press conference. The new policy was overshadowed by her announcement of a vaccine passport program she’s implementing in the city, dubbed “B” Together.
Starting January 15, everyone ages 12 and older will have to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 in order to enter bars, restaurants, gyms and indoor entertainment, recreation and event venues, such as theaters and sports games, in Boston. Employees at these locations will also be required to have received their vaccines or face loosing their jobs. This potentially could lead to thousands of jobs lost across the city according to experts.
Not to be overlooked in all of this is the detrimental impact the vaccine mandate could have on the city’s public safety system. Included in the estimated 2,200+ unvaccinated city employees are police officers, firefighters, paramedics and EMTs. If they opt not to get vaccinated under the mandate, Wu had said previously she would fire them without second thought, leaving already short-staffed agencies even more strapped for help. The only ones to suffer will be the people of Boston with longer response times.
With such drastic and overreaching policies, business owners are even speaking out with many already publicly taking to Twitter, defying Wu’s mandate out of fear it will result in patrons going to neighboring towns with less restrictive policy’s. These small businesses owners are also pointing out two major points, it’s not a law making it barely enforceable and the ease in which people are now creating fake, undetectable Covid cards.
As for the city’s labor unions it would be less than surprising to see a big legal fight take place leading up-to and before the mandate begins on January 15. With numerous unions already on paper with agreed upon accommodations, it’s unlikely Wu’s mandate will be rolled out as smoothly as she’s claiming.