Business, Featured Items of Interest, Health, Local Government and Politics, News

Lynn and Salem expected to follow Boston’s lead on COVID

This article was published 1 year(s) and 9 month(s) ago.

LYNN — In light of Boston Mayor Michelle Wu’s announcement of vaccine requirements for certain indoor venues, leaders from Lynn and Salem are considering doing the same.

In a joint statement posted on social media Monday, Lynn Mayor Thomas M. McGee and Mayor-elect Jared Nicholson said that they are grateful for Wu’s actions, and are looking to have discussions with residents and businesses in Lynn about the possibility of implementing similar measures in the future. 

“As the pandemic continues to be prevalent, it is important that Boston is taking this step,” McGee and Nicholson said. “In the coming weeks, we hope to have an open dialogue with Lynn residents and business about what the right policy for Lynn is going forward, in collaboration across the region, so that our communities can continue to be safe and healthy, as well.”

When asked about whether Lynn would take an identical approach to Wu’s plan, Nicholson said he would consider doing so but a plan has not been set in stone.

“I think what Mayor Wu did in Boston is something we could consider,” Nicholson said. “We don’t have a specific plan yet, but we know this plan would expect to have input from our small businesses and residents.”  

The City of Lynn is continuing to see COVID-19 cases rise as the omicron variant becomes more common across the country. The city has recorded a total of 22,196 cases of COVID-19, resulting in 240 deaths as of Monday.     

McGee and Department of Public Health Director Michele Desmarais announced a new indoor-mask mandate last Thursday, which went into effect on Monday.

Desmarais said she would support vaccine mandates for the city, believing there needs to be a greater focus on vaccinations.  

“I would agree with both if they want to put stricter mandates,” Desmarais said. “We need to concentrate on getting people vaccinated.” 

Lynn is not the only North Shore city talking about new mandates. 

Salem Mayor Kimberley Driscoll will be going to the Board of Health to request the board’s approval for a vaccine mandate.

Driscoll voiced on social media her support for Wu’s vaccine-requirement decision.

“I support putting in place a vax requirement for restaurants, gyms, and entertainment venues and will be recommending to our Board of Health that we move in this direction,” said Driscoll. “We need to use all the tools in our toolbox to address the current COVID challenges.”

The Salem Board of Health discussed a possible vaccine mandate at a recent meeting, but did not vote on the matter. Board of Health members said that while they were in support of getting as many Salem residents vaccinated as possible, making vaccines required in order to enter businesses was complicated.

“We will continue to work with our small-business owners to implement public-health measures,” Driscoll said. “Vaccine requirements, testing, and masking up indoors are all part of the mix when it comes to beating back COVID.”

Driscoll also informed the public that only 50 percent of individuals between the ages of 16-29 are currently vaccinated. Also according to Driscoll, Salem Hospital is currently at or near capacity.

“I hope that taking these measures will help our city stay safe, open, and strong,” she said. “We want our businesses staffed, and open, our kids attending school and our hospitals available to meet our health (and) wellness needs. With so little beds available, we are at risk of not meeting our care needs.”

Boston’s order goes into effect on Jan. 15, with individuals 12 years of age and older required to have at least one vaccine dose by this date to enter indoor venues. Two doses will be required by Feb. 15, with children 5 years old and above required to be fully vaccinated by March.

More Stories From Lynn