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Workers and customers at restaurants, gyms, and many other indoor businesses in Boston will need one by mid-January Provide evidence of coronavirus vaccination to curb a surge in new cases in the city and state, Mayor Michelle Wu said Monday.

In addition, city officials have to be vaccinated, she said at a press conference in town hall, as protesters in a different part of the building.

“There is nothing more American than coming together to make sure we take care of each other,” said the mayor in response to the protesters.

Previously, city workers were required to provide proof of vaccination or undergo regular tests, but the testing option will be eliminated, she said. Medical and religious exceptions will be considered.

“The vast majority of hospital admissions related to COVID-19 involve unvaccinated people, which affects our entire health system and threatens the health of our communities,” she said. “Today’s steps to protect community members in certain interiors and all of our city’s workforce will help keep everyone safe in Boston.”

The indoor mask mandate, which comes into effect Jan. 15, applies to restaurants, gyms and indoor recreational facilities, including theaters and sports venues, as well as a few other businesses, she said.

Boston has seen a spike in Covid-19 cases this month, and things are expected to get worse over the next month with the spread of the Omicron variant, said Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission.

New positive cases are up nearly 90% compared to two weeks ago, and the city now has an average of 369 new cases per day, she said. Hospital stays are 60% higher than two weeks ago.

While some small business owners attended the press conference in support of the internal masks mandate, the national chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business cited this as an additional burden on already ailing businesses.

“It is unfortunate that private companies are once again faced with the inexorable position of having to enforce another government health policy,” said Christopher Carlozzi, the organization’s state director, in a statement.

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Ref: https://triblive.com