Boston Mayor Hints at Keeping Mask, Vaccine Mandates Through Next Winter

City restaurants losing as much as $15K per week because of Michelle Wu's vaccine mandate

Boston mayor Michelle Wu (Getty Images)
February 1, 2022

Boston mayor Michelle Wu (D.) declined Tuesday to say when she would lift the city's mask and vaccine mandates and hinted that she may keep the mandates through "next fall, next winter."

A journalist asked Wu whether she had "any plans to roll back mask mandates or vaccine mandates in the near future," pointing out that cities are reporting that "we're a lot better off, we have vaccines, people aren't getting as sick, the number of hospitalizations are going down."

"COVID will be around for a while," Wu responded. "Even after we are through this surge, we know it is likely that next fall, next winter, there likely will be another surge."

While the mayor said "these protections are not permanent," she implied they will remain in place during "the most urgent moments," presumably during surges.

Wu also declined to say what threshold would cause her to consider lifting restrictions, saying only that "the virus keeps changing."

Since her inauguration in November, Wu, a progressive often considered a protégée of Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren (D.), has established some of the severest COVID-19 policies in any big city. In December, she announced a sweeping vaccine mandate for people who enter most indoor spaces and for all city employees.

The Massachusetts Restaurant Association has pleaded with Wu to lift the mandate, reporting that Boston restaurants have lost as much as $15,000 a week because of her order.

And ABC News reported the city risks "losing a disproportionate number of educators of color" because of the decision.

A Massachusetts appeals court on Thursday issued a temporary stay on Wu's mandate, which went into effect on Jan. 15.