Good morning everyone! Happy Monday and welcome back to the blog. Today I wanted to share a few updates from the city of Salem regarding mask mandates and vaccine mandates in Salem. The board of health met on 12/22/21 and the following are the decisions that were made. If you’re planning on visiting us any time soon, this may apply to you so please read carefully and follow along for further updates as your travel dates approach.
Salem, MA mask mandate and vaccine mandate December 2021
“On December 22, 2021 the Salem Board of Health voted to adopt measures that re-establish the city-wide indoor mask requirement effective immediately and establish a proof-of-vaccination requirement for entry into certain high-risk businesses on the schedule detailed below. These policies have been put in place in order to help keep Salem residents and employees safe. You can read both orders at www.salem.com/safesalem.
Starting on January 15, 2022, persons entering any of the types of establishments in the City of Salem listed below will be required to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 in the following phases:
- Phase 1: Starting January 15, 2022, all individuals ages 12 and over are required to present proof of at least one dose of vaccination, in either a one-dose or two-dose series.
- Phase 2: Starting March 1, 2022, all individuals ages 12 and over are required to present proof of either one dose of a one-dose vaccine series or two doses in a two-dose series. All individuals ages 5 to 11 are required to present proof of at least one dose of vaccination, in either a one-dose or two-dose series.
- Phase 3: Starting May 1, 2022, all individuals ages 5 to 11 are required to present proof of either one dose of a one-dose vaccine series or two doses in a two-dose series.
This requirement applies to the following types of businesses in the City of Salem: movie theater, music and concert venues, commercial event and party venues, museums and galleries, haunted houses and similar attractions, escape rooms, exhibition spaces, performance venues, theaters, indoor sports facilities, bowling alleys, indoor portions of food service establishments offering food and drink including restaurants, indoor gyms and fitness centers, yoga/pilates/barre/dance studios, boxing/kickboxing gyms, fitness boot camps, indoor pools, and other facilities used for conducting group fitness classes.
The requirement does 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. It also does not apply to food service establishments providing charitable food services, such as pantries or soup kitchens.
“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,” said Mayor Kim Driscoll. “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.”
“Given the rapid and dramatic rise of COVID-19 cases largely driven by the Omicron variant, we are highly concerned about Salem’s public health during these indoor winter months,” said Board of Health chair Dr. Jeremy Schiller. “The dramatic increase in cases coupled with the current near capacity at not only our local hospital in Salem but throughout the region, it is critical that we take further mitigation measures during this pandemic. We know that indoor masking and being vaccinated are two of our most potent mitigation measures against COVID-19. With that in mind, we have instituted an indoor mask mandate through March. We have also followed along with Boston and other neighboring cities and towns requiring proof of vaccination to access local restaurants and bars, gyms and fitness centers and indoor venues of entertainment. While the vaccines are not 100% effective at preventing the spread of COVID-19, they are, like stop signs and speed limits, effective tools for reducing the risk of harm to oneself and others and are therefore not only ethical but necessary from a public health perspective. On behalf of the Board of Health, thank you for all that you are doing to keep yourself and our community safe.” [Source]
If you are a Salem resident seeking resources for scheduling your vaccine, click here.
Stay safe everyone!