Proof of Vaccine Begins in Eastie And Across the City for Indoor Venues

Indoor venues in East Boston like restaurants and gyms began adjusting to Mayor Michelle Wu’s new mandate that requires workers and patrons at all indoor venues to show proof of vaccination in order to bend the curve of the latest COVID-19 surge.

The “B Together” mandate officially went into effect Saturday across Boston with Mayor Wu saying the best way for Boston to stay healthy and support communities, businesses, and cultural institutions is for more people to get vaccinated and the B Together policy helps the city do just that.

Mayor Michelle Wu kicks off the B Strong proof of vaccination mandate for indoor venues Saturday.

On Saturday, people were  required to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 to enter certain indoor spaces in Boston that offer iIndoor dining like bars and nightclubs, indoor fitness establishments and Indoor entertainment establishments. Employees working in those spaces are also required to now be vaccinated. Covered businesses are responsible for checking proof of vaccination and posting a notice about the COVID-19 vaccine requirement at their entrance.

Over at Rino’s Place on Saratoga Street, owned by Chef Tony DiCenso and his wife, Anna, the B Together mandate seemed to go off without a hitch Saturday at the widely popular Italian Restaurant.

“We were checking vaccine cards Saturday,” said Anna DiCenso. “Boston Police actually came in looking to speak to a manager to make sure we were in compliance with asking for vaccine cards and if we had the correct signage–which thankfully we did. I have to say, I was a little taken back by it. Not once during the whole pandemic did anyone ever come in checking. I guess Mayor Wu is serious about this but we are happy to report we had not one issue.”

At Planet Fitness on McClellan Highway in Eastie, the team said they were fully prepared ahead of the mandate going into effect and there were no issues.

“Once the mandate was put into place, we immediately made sure we had the proper systems in place to be able to implement a verification tracking system,” said Planet Fitness in a statement Tuesday. “Our goal was to make sure the process was as simple and smooth as possible to minimize the impact on our members as they are checking into our clubs.  We feel confident in our procedures, and are happy to continue to allow members to work out in our Planet Fitness East Boston location.”

However, some indoor venue owners have reported receiving hate mail and angry voicemail messages for following the city’s new guidelines. These owners feel they are being targeted not by loyal patrons but by an outside group of agitators that are against vaccine mandates in any shape or form. A group of anti-vaccers also staked out Mayor Wu’s home the other morning and shouted insults from the street calling the Mayor a ‘facisits’ for implementing the B Together initiative.

Wu stood her ground Saturday when kicking off the new mandate.

“Today’s launch of our B Together policy means that we are taking important steps on the policy side to close (vaccination rate) gaps and continue protections for our workforce and for our residents,” said Wu. “I continue to hear from our partners in health care and in our health institutions, that the ongoing strain on our health care system overall is still being driven by gaps in vaccination rates. We are seeing the need to push back even more surgeries because of COVID. Unvaccinated patients who are suffering from severe illness because of COVID are squeezing out the capacity for needed procedures and other health treatments. Every bit of delay  is creating ripple effects later on for all of us. We all need a healthy and accessible healthcare system and that is very much tied up with  preventable instances of severe illness and hospitalization due to gaps in COVID-19 vaccination rates. Our policy is meant to be a strong support for our healthcare system and for residents at large.”

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