- Vaccine rules have left Boston restaurants struggling, per the Massachusetts Restaurant Association.
- The association complained about the rules to city mayor Michelle Wu, The Boston Herald reported.
- Wu told Insider she wants residents, at some point, to be fully free to go about their lives again.
The Massachusetts Restaurant Association (MRA) has written to Boston mayor Michelle Wu, complaining that restaurants are losing up to $15,000 a week, due to the city’s vaccine mandate.
The new requirement to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 took effect on January 15.
“The damage that has already occurred statewide in the restaurant industry in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be undone, but the future of our restaurants, small businesses and employment are reliant on the choices our leaders make today,” MRA president Bob Luz said in the letter, as reported by The Boston Herald.
The MRA is a statewide association that says it provides access, influence, and protection to restaurant professionals. It also provides support to the hospitality industry in city halls and the state Capitol.
Official rules mean that businesses are often required to ask patrons for proof of vaccination, as a response to the surge in Omicron cases. There have also been numerous protests over the new rules, Boston News 25 reported.
In the letter addressed to the mayor, the MRA wrote: “We ask that you reevaluate the vaccine mandate given the rapidly improving conditions in Boston and provide the roadmap forward so that the most beleaguered industry, in the most affected city in the state, can make a plan towards recovery.”
Wu told Insider via email: “As community positivity goes down, as we see vaccination rates go up, we want to get back to a situation at some point where people are fully free to go about their lives.”
According to the Boston Herald, Wu told reporters on Tuesday that the city was still trying to figure out the best way to move forward while remaining cautious. “The hope is that we will continue seeing progress with our vaccination rates going up, and that will mean that we should be able to adjust our policies down the line,” she said.
In recent months, parts of the Massachusetts restaurant sector have also been severely affected by the labor shortage. In October, Insider’s Zahra Tayeb reported that the owner of a restaurant chain in the state said staff shortages were having a huge impact on local businesses.