Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Candidate Pushed For Vaccine Passport Mandate In Her City

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How do candidates for statewide office in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts feel about Boston’s vaccine passport mandate that went into effect over the weekend?

One candidate for lieutenant governor not only supports it but pushed for one in her own city.

Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, 55, a Democrat, announced that she’s running for lieutenant governor last week.

As of Saturday, January 15, the city of Salem has been requiring everyone who is at least 12 years old to provide proof of having received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine to enter many different places in the city. On March 1, 2022, people will need to present proof that they’ve received one dose of a one-dose series vaccine (like Johnson and Johnson) or two doses of a two-dose series vaccine (like Pfizer and Moderna or foreign equivalents). However, children in the 5-to-11 age range must produce proof of at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, starting on March 1. As of May 1, 2022, children ages 5 to 11 must provide proof that they have received at least one dose of one-dose series vaccine or two doses of a two-dose series vaccine.

The mandate applies to many, but not all, businesses in the city. It says that it “does not apply to exclusively retail establishments, including grocery stores, or to any food service establishment offering food and/or drink exclusively for off-premises or outdoor consumption.” However, it applies to restaurants, indoor gyms, indoor sports facilities, movie theaters, haunted houses, museums, and indoor pools, among other places.

Salem’s board of health unanimously approved the policy during a meeting December 22, 2021.

Driscoll endorsed the board’s decision, saying:


We need to use all the tools in our toolbox to address the current COVID-19 challenges and that means ensuring people are vaccinated to curb virus transmission and reduce the likelihood of hospitalization for those who contract COVID-19. With only 50% of young adults in Salem between the ages of 16 and 29 vaccinated and our local hospital at or near capacity, it’s important that we take action now to address rising COVID-19 case counts this winter. I hope that taking these measures will help our city stay safe, open, and strong. We want our businesses staffed and open, our kids attending in-person school uninterrupted and our hospitals available to meet our community’s health and wellness needs. With so few beds available, we are at risk of not being able to provide critical care for residents, whether it’s for COVID-19 or some other illness or injury. We will continue to work with our small business owners to implement public health measures. We also know, from our experience in October, that having strong public health protections in place encourages business, giving individuals greater comfort and peace of mind knowing they can patronize these locations more safely. Vaccine requirements, testing and masking up indoors are all part of the mix when it comes to beating back COVID-19 and ensuring safe restaurants and gathering places for everyone in Salem.


And while it was the Salem Board of Health that put the new vaccine passport mandate into effect, Driscoll, who has been Salem’s mayor since 2006, said it was her idea.

She did so in a December 20, 2021 statement in support of Boston’s vaccine passport mandate.

“I support putting in place a vaccine requirement for public places like restaurants, gyms and entertainment venues and will be recommending to our Board of Health that we move in this direction,” Driscoll said.

Driscoll is one of five Democratic candidates for lieutenant governor. The others are state Senator Adam Hinds (D-Pittsfield), state Senator Eric Lesser (D-Longmeadow), state representative Tami Gouveia (D-Acton), and Babson College lecturer Bret Bero.

Driscoll’s campaign could not be reached for comment over the weekend or on Monday this week.


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