BOSTON

Following City of Boston, TD Garden to Lift Proof of COVID Vaccination Requirement

TD Garden announced its updated entry requirements on Saturday, saying the entertainment venue would align with the City of Boston starting Feb. 21

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The TD Garden announced Saturday that it will align with the City of Boston and no longer require patrons to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 starting Monday.

Anyone over the age of 12 who is attending shows at the Boston entertainment venue this weekend -- Tool on Feb. 19, or Billie Eilish on Feb. 20 -- will still be required to show proof of vaccination. The entertainment venue said the updated entry requirements do not take effect until Monday, Feb. 21.

There was mixed reaction to the relaxed restrictions from concertgoers on Saturday, with some people anxious about gathering indoors with people who are not vaccinated against COVID and wary that the pandemic isn't over yet.

“Honestly I think it’s a little bit scary,” one woman said. “Honestly places that don’t require vaccines I’m definitely a little more hesitant to go and be in that environment because you never know.”

“It’s still very much going on. It’s still a huge issue. Especially in a city like Boston, there’s so many college kids and people just running around everywhere I feel like it’s a little bit dangerous," another woman shared.

But others say it's time to celebrate.

“Feels great. Feels like we are coming out of a cocoon. Hibernation ends. Let’s party,” one man said outside the Garden.

While Bruins fans won't have to show their vaccination cards Monday when Boston takes the ice against the Colorado Avalanche at 1 p.m., they will still need their face masks.

Masks will continue to be mandated at the Garden for anyone 2 years and older, as the requirement to wear masks at all times in public indoor spaces in Boston remains in place -- except when actively eating or drinking.

Concertgoers Saturday night were mixed on the relaxed restrictions.

Boston's vaccine mandate was officially lifted Friday, making flashing vaccine cards a thing of the past as the city took another large step toward returning to normal.

People no longer have to prove they are vaccinated against COVID-19 before heading into Boston restaurants, gyms and indoor entertainment venues, Mayor Michelle Wu said Friday.

"The public health data shows that we're ready to take this step in our recovery,'' Wu said in a press release. "This news highlights how much progress we've made in our fight against COVID-19 thanks to vaccines and boosters, which have always been our most effective weapon against the pandemic." 

With the vaccine mandate officially lifted, many business owners are also ready to take the next step in recovery.

The Wang Theatre is one of the many venues changing over its signage.

“All in all, we’ve been waiting to get to this point,” said Joe Spaulding, president and CEO of the Boch Center. “We are currently changing all of our websites, all of our social, all of our emails, everything we do including the ticketing company and getting information to say that you no longer have to show proof of vaccination but you must wear a mask.”

People will no longer need to provide proof of being vaccinated against COVID-19 to patronize businesses in Boston.

The relaxed rules come after Boston met all three COVID metrics that Wu said would be required in order for the proof of vaccination requirement to be lifted, which included: when the community positivity rate fell below 5%; fewer than 95% of ICU beds at Boston hospitals were occupied; and the seven-day average of COVID-19 hospitalizations fell below 200 per day.

The city has now met all three criteria, Wu said, pointing to public health data released Friday that showed Boston has a 4% community positivity rate, a nearly 91% occupancy rate of adult ICU beds, and seven-day average of adult COVID-19 hospitalizations of 196 per day.

The goal of the policy was to curb a spike in COVID-19 cases driven by the omicron variant. Wu called the lifting of the proof of vaccination requirement a "win for every Bostonian who's done their part to keep our communities safe.'' 

Many are glad that the data looks so promising, but some are still hesitant.

“I’m glad that it’s going away,” said Andrew Ledet. "I would say like elderly people, people that have underlying conditions, it’s probably good for them to wear a mask.”

“I don’t think COVID is quite over, I think we’ll probably still hit another hump so I think better safe than sorry,” one young man said.

The requirement to wear masks in public indoor spaces in Boston remains in place. In the coming days, the Boston Public Health Commission will be reviewing the masking order in consultation with the Board of Health, Wu said. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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