Boston mayor lines up vaccine mandates amid pushback from city workers

Wu tightened the capital city’s vaccine necessities days after three instances of the Omicron variant had been detected in Boston and as well being officers mentioned infections have climbed 89 percent over simply two weeks. The transfer comes as many cities hope to stem the most recent wave of infections and the Biden administration appears to be like to develop testing throughout the nation. The choice additionally got here down a bit of over per week after Wu informed POLITICO her Covid-19 advisory group spoke with New York City officers about their vaccine passport program.

However Wu’s already drawing pushback for her new guidelines. The brand new Boston mayor was practically drowned out by the few dozen protesters — together with Republican governor hopeful and former state consultant Geoff Diehl — who confirmed up at City Corridor on Monday to jeer her vaccine necessities.

“Welcome to the individuals’s constructing,” Wu mentioned in response. “There’s nothing extra American than coming collectively to make sure that we’re caring for one another.”

Companies and eating places greeted Wu’s announcement with a mixture of relief and dismay. Some entrepreneurs welcomed the extra step to maintain their workers and patrons secure. However others lamented extra crimson tape as they attempt to preserve their companies afloat. Wu mentioned Tuesday she’s “overwhelmingly” heard “reduction” from companies “that there are actually clear guidelines and parameters that may assist degree the enjoying area.”

The city may additionally face authorized challenges. Shana Cottone — a Boston police sergeant who represents Boston First Responders United, a gaggle of emergency medical technicians, firefighters and police — informed POLITICO on Tuesday her group is “going to combat this by means of each authorized means doable” and is already speaking to an lawyer.

“Covid is a horrible factor,” Cottone mentioned. “However taking away individuals’s jobs will not be the best way to unravel that drawback.”

With instances surging and sufferers overwhelming hospitals throughout the state, Gov. Charlie Baker on Tuesday issued a statewide advisory recommending — however not requiring — that folks masks up in indoor public areas. The Republican governor can be ordering hospitals to postpone or cancel all elective procedures starting Dec. 27 and is activating a whole bunch of Nationwide Guard members to help hospitals dealing with staffing shortages.

“For the foreseeable future, Massachusetts and many of the nation will see massive numbers of recent instances,” Baker mentioned at a Tuesday press convention. “However a brand new case at this time doesn’t imply the identical factor a brand new case meant a 12 months in the past. The therapies and vaccines that provide near-universal safety didn’t exist a 12 months in the past.”

Baker continues to withstand imposing a statewide masks mandate regardless of rising stress from medical professionals, Democratic state lawmakers and now Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), who sent the governor a letter Tuesday saying Massachusetts “can and should do extra to make sure our most weak communities are protected.”

Boston and dozens of cities throughout Massachusetts have already reimposed masks mandates for municipal buildings and/or indoor public areas writ massive. Mayors from a number of japanese Massachusetts cities additionally joined Wu on Monday to push their very own vaccine mandates or plan to announce comparable insurance policies in coming days.

“It’s crucial that we proceed to take precautions heading into the vacation season,” Wu mentioned Tuesday. “I’m joyful that cities have the power to go above and past what the state is doing.”

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