On Tuesday, Jan. 11, Interim Health Commissioner Patrick Maloney issued an order with the Select Board and Advisory Council of Public Health requiring proof of vaccination against COVID-19 in “covered entities” beginning Saturday, Jan. 15. All patrons aged 12 or older are required to display proof of at least one dose of a vaccine inside many businesses and venues.
“Covered entities” include all indoor entertainment, recreational and event venues, food service establishments and commercial gyms and fitness settings. This does not apply to pre-kindergarten through 12th grade public and nonpublic schools, childcare programs, non-commercial municipal functions, senior centers and community centers. Signage at entrance areas alerting patrons of the regulation is required.
The order exempts “patrons entering for a quick and limited purpose (for example, using the restroom, placing or picking up an order or service, making a delivery, or performing necessary repairs)” and “Public Safety, Public Health and Emergency Services personnel” from displaying proof of vaccination.
The order cited the rise of COVID-19 cases in the town, including a positive test rate of 6.7 percent.
Maloney said the order will help the community stay as healthy as possible and keep positive cases under what the town has the capability of managing.
“By implementing this regulation, Brookline is doing its part to mitigate a continuing surge that is stretching our healthcare system to its limits, because vaccination is proven to severely limit the potential for hospitalization due to COVID-19,” Maloney said in a statement on Tuesday.
This mandate is the first of four phases which will eventually require all patrons ages 5 and up to display proof of one dose in a one-dose series or all doses in a multiple-dose series by May 1. The second phase will begin on Feb. 22 and require all patrons over the age of 12 to demonstrate proof of one dose in a one-dose series or all doses in a multiple-dose series of vaccinations.
The order accepts proof demonstrated with an official immunization record or image that includes a CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Card, a report from a health care provider or vaccination site establishing proof of vaccination, or any vaccination verification smartphone application developed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or developed or endorsed by the Town of Brookline. On Monday, Jan. 10, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts released My Vax Records, a digital vaccine card system that provides a digital copy of vaccines that can be easily accessed with a QR code.
Patrons will face a fine of $300 per violation of the regulation.