Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Candidate Supported COVID-19 Vaccine Passports In Her City

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Remember vaccine passports?

One candidate for lieutenant governor definitely does; she pushed for them in her own city.

Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, a Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, not only governed a city that had a coronavirus vaccine passport in place last winter, but it was her idea.

Salem had a coronavirus vaccine passport in place from mid-January 2022 to early February 2022. — something Driscoll took credit for. The vaccine passport applied to indoor entertainment, recreational, and event venues; indoor food services; and indoor gyms and fitness settings.

In all, the city had a vaccine passport in place from January 15 to February 8 — 24 days. 

Salem required everyone who was 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. 

The mandate applied to many, but not all, businesses in the city. It said that it did “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 applied 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.


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.

Salem’s board of health unanimously voted to drop the vaccine passport policy on February 8, 2022; it ended the policy effective immediately. 

Driscoll is one of three Democratic candidates for lieutenant governor. The others are state Senator Eric Lesser (D-Longmeadow) and state representative Tami Gouveia (D-Acton).

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


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