BOSTON (CBS) – Boston’s vaccine mandate starts on Saturday, and anyone who enters a Boston restaurant, bar, or entertainment venue will be required to show proof of at least a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
That proof can be a CDC card, a picture of the card, or the state’s new digital vaccine passport.
Many restaurants around Boston and Cambridge already had their own vaccine requirements in place or started the city’s requirements a few weeks early.
Mayor Michelle Wu announced the “B Together” initiative, including a vaccine mandate, in the hopes of fighting the Omicron surge.
However, in Boston’s North End, the city’s oldest residential community, some restaurant owners feel checking vaccination status at the door will be an unwelcome 180 from the usual “come one, come all” atmosphere.
“I’m getting tired of all this insanity,” said Claudia Spagnuolo, whose family has owned La Famiglia Spagnuolo’s for decades. “Every day it’s a new thing, and it’s just so out of hand.”
She’s experienced a lot of empty tables in recent weeks and worries this mandate will wipe out an already depleted customer base.
“People are going to want to eat and come in, and now I have to interrogate them at the door. ‘Where is your card? Where is your vaccine card?’ And they may have it, they may not have it, now it’s a hassle at the door,” she said. “What country are we in that we are checking people?”
Neighboring restaurant owner Massimo Tiberi is not thrilled about another COVID-19 rule being thrown in the mix, but he’s cautiously hopeful it won’t upset his client base. He says this winter has been great for business.
“I’m going to check the cards as they walk in. You know, it is what it is, another hurdle the restaurant business has to go through, but what are we going to do? We just have to do what we have to do,” he said.
Tiberi says he personally will check the cards at the door to not put the burden of potential conflict with customers on his staff.
“I’m going to be the bad guy,” he said. “We will see how it goes tomorrow. Feels good today. We will see tomorrow.”