City Councilor Andrea Campbell on Monday continued her push for Acting Mayor Kim Janey to implement a vaccine passport mandate for crowded indoor spaces and to bring back a mask order amid the delta variant spike.
Janey said multiple times last week that she was against implementing mandates like New York City’s, where indoor dining, gyms and other facilities would be required to have customers show proof of vaccination.
But Campbell, who is also running for mayor, renewed her call on Monday for Janey to enact such a mandate to “incentivize more folks to get vaccinated.”
“New York is taking a comprehensive approach, and they’ve already seen within a week a 40% uptick in folks actually getting vaccinated, particularly in communities of color,” Campbell said outside a vaccination site in Mattapan, the neighborhood with the lowest vax rate in Boston. “So this is a comprehensive approach that needs to be adopted immediately by the acting mayor.”
Boston could possibly see an even higher rate of people getting vaccinated than in NYC if the Hub implements such a mandate, she added.
Campbell also on Monday pushed for Janey to reinstate mask requirements for indoor dining and large venues, citing the more highly contagious delta variant and rising COVID infection rates in the city.
“If we take too long to respond in a way that is necessary to protect residents, you will start to see us go backwards,” Campbell said, later adding, “None of us want that. We do not want more folks to get sick. We do not want children to get sick. We do not want folks to die.”
Other communities have been reimplementing mask mandates, including in Provincetown following a cluster. Belmont has reinstated its indoor mask mandate, and Salem officials on Monday announced that masks will be required indoors for all businesses and city buildings open to the public.
A spokesperson for Janey on Monday said in a statement, “While the COVID-19 vaccine is the best protection we have, Mayor Janey has also strongly encouraged Boston residents to wear masks. The City of Boston is leading by example and requires masks inside municipal buildings. Additionally, Boston Public Schools will require all BPS students and staff to wear masks indoors this fall.
“All of our tracking metrics remain below threshold levels which would lead to mandates and restrictions at this time,” the spokesperson added. “As we have done throughout this pandemic, we will continue to follow the public health data and use it to drive our decision making.”
Janey last week backtracked on her comparison of vaccine passports to slavery and former President Trump’s birther conspiracies after her comments ignited a firestorm.
After Janey said she shouldn’t have used the slavery comparison, she said that what she characterized as a “ban on unvaccinated residents from venues like restaurants or gyms” would “shut out nearly 40% of East Boston, and 60% of Mattapan.”
Campbell on Monday also pushed for a requirement that all city employees are either vaccinated or they get tested on a weekly basis.
Janey’s spokesperson said, “As we work towards a mandate to require vaccination or regular testing for all City of Boston employees, Mayor Janey’s goal has always been to collaborate with our employees to ensure their safety from COVID-19.”