Boston has announced that certain employers will be required to verify employees are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Covered employers must check proof of vaccination and post a notice about the COVID-19 vaccine requirement.
The vaccination mandate applies to employees (and patrons) of the following types of businesses:
- Indoor portions of foodservice establishments offering food and drink (e.g., bars and restaurants).
- Indoor entertainment, recreational, and event venues (e.g., movie theaters, museums, and music halls); and
- Indoor gym and fitness settings (e.g., commercial gyms and yoga studios).
A full list of covered establishments is available here.
- By Jan.15, 2022, employees must show proof of one at least dose of COVID-19 vaccination.
- By Feb.15, 2022, employees must show proof of full vaccination.
Employees may show proof by providing:
- Their CDC vaccination card;
- A digital image of their CDC card;
- An image of their official immunization record; or
- Verification via a city of Boston app or any other COVID vaccine verification app.
The city has provided guidance for handling employee and patron requests for reasonable accommodations. The guidance indicates that reasonable accommodations must be provided to employees who require them because of a medical condition, disability, or other civil-rights-related reason, unless it would cause a direct threat to other customers or employees, including through risk of COVID-19 infection, or impose an undue hardship on the business.
If an employee requests an exception to the vaccine requirement or additional time to provide their proof of vaccination for one of the reasons listed above, employers must engage with them in a cooperative dialogue, or a good-faith discussion, to see if a reasonable accommodation is possible, according to the guidance.
Reasonable accommodations can take many forms, such as allowing an employee to work remotely, perform their job duties outside or isolated from other employees or customers, or take a leave of absence. Notably, the guidance says weekly testing isn’t an acceptable accommodation.
Note: Employers may have additional reasonable accommodation obligations under federal and/or state law. Additionally, certain employers may be subject to federal vaccination requirements. Employers should consult legal counsel to discuss the impact of these laws on their vaccination policies and practices.
If you are a covered employer:
- Consult legal counsel to discuss the impact of the requirement and federal and state law on your vaccination policies and practices.
- Refer to the city’s resources.
- Notify employees.
- Place a public notice at the front entrance stating that proof of vaccination is required. The notice is available for download here under Information for Businesses.
- Train supervisors on how to enforce the requirements.
Please contact your dedicated service professional with any questions.