Friday, January 14, 2022


Starting Saturday, January 15, 2022, people will be required to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 in order to enter certain indoor spaces in Boston:

  • Indoor dining, including bars and nightclubs

  • Indoor fitness

  • Indoor entertainment

For a more detailed list of covered locations, please click here.  

Employees working in those spaces will also be required to be vaccinated. Covered businesses are responsible for checking proof of vaccination and posting a notice about the COVID-19 vaccine requirement – and the City is here to help.

Click here to access a printable image of the notice that covered businesses must post at their entrance. 

To enter one of the establishments listed above, you will need to show that you are vaccinated against COVID-19.  That verification can be done with:

  • A CDC vaccination card

  • A digital image of your CDC card 

  • An image of any official immunization record

  • A City of Boston app or any other COVID vaccine verification app


Saturday, Jan. 15

People age 12+ must show proof of 1 dose of vaccine

Tuesday, Feb 15

People age 12+ must show proof of full vaccination

Tuesday, March 1

Children age 5-11 must show proof of 1 dose of vaccine

Sunday, May 1

Child age 5+ must show proof of full vaccination

To learn more about the policy and access resources for residents and businesses, please visit or call 311.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there any change with the indoor mask mandate?

No.  Boston’s indoor mask mandate is still in effect.  The public health guidance from the CDC and Boston Public Health Commission is that the best protection against COVID-19 is both to get vaccinated and to wear a mask until the spread of COVID-19 in the community is suppressed.  

When I show my proof of vaccine verification, do I also need to show ID?

No.  The City is only requiring that people show proof that they are vaccinated.

Will the City app track what locations I visit?

No.  As the city rolls out an app, it will be designed for one purpose only: to make it easy for you to show an image of your proof of vaccination on your phone. 

Do employees of these businesses need to be vaccinated?

Yes.  This policy covers both patrons and people working in the same indoor spaces.

What if I have misplaced my vaccination card?

Businesses are required to ask for proof of vaccination. Businesses may allow a patron to enter for a limited purpose, such as to pick up food or to recharge their cell phone to enable the patron to show a digital image of their proof of vaccination. Businesses may also exercise discretion to allow entrance to a vaccinated minor who cannot show proof of vaccination if the minor or an accompanying adult can offer a reasonable explanation.  

What if a person states that they cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons?

Covered businesses must require proof of vaccination. If a customer requests an exemption from the vaccine requirement due to a disability, engage with them in a cooperative dialogue to see if a reasonable accommodation is possible. A business does not have to provide a reasonable accommodation if doing so would create a direct threat (including contact with an unvaccinated individual) for other customers or employees of the business, or impose an undue hardship on the business.

Will there be enforcement against businesses who don’t follow the policy?

The City’s goal is to help businesses follow the policy so that we can encourage vaccination and limit the risk to customers and workers. Once the COVID-19 vaccine requirement takes effect in January of 2022, city inspectors will make checks for compliance. Businesses who are found not in compliance will receive a warning. If businesses continue not to comply, they may be fined or face other enforcement action. 

What if an individual refuses to show proof of vaccination at a covered establishment?

An individual who refuses to show proof of vaccination may not enter except for very quick and limited purposes (such as using the bathroom, picking up food, or paying a bill). When entering a venue for such limited purposes, the individuals must wear a face mask.

Can I report a business that is not following the policy?

If you see a business that is not following the policy that you believe should be, please call 311. If you are a worker concerned about retaliation, please contact the Attorney General’s Fair Labor Division.

Does this policy apply to indoor dining, fitness or entertainment in schools?

No. The policy excludes pre-kindergarten through grade 12 public and non-public schools and programs, child care programs, senior centers, and community centers. The policy does not apply to indoor college and university spaces that already require vaccination for all members of the community. 

What if I don’t have a smartphone?

You can show that you are vaccinated without a smartphone by showing your CDC vaccination card or any other official immunization record.

What if I speak a language other than English?

Public notices to be posted at the front entrance of indoor establishments will be distributed in the languages most commonly spoken in each neighborhood.

Do I need a booster shot under the policy?

There is currently no requirement in the policy to have a booster to enter indoor establishments. The Public Health Commission may modify this provision in the future, in consultation with public health data and guidance from the CDC.

COVID-19 Vaccine Resources in Boston

For a full list of all the places you can get vaccinated in Boston, please visit our COVID-19 Vaccine In Boston resource page.

originally published 12.20.21

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