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As Worcester Drops Mask Mandate, Boston Moves Closer To Easing Restrictions

BOSTON (CBS) – On Thursday, Mayor Michelle Wu said Boston is close to being able to drop its vaccine passport policy. At this point, the city has met two of three key metrics Mayor Wu wants to meet in order to stop requiring restaurants, gyms, and large venues to check customers' proof of vaccination at the door.

Some restaurant managers were happy to hear the news. "Mostly because some of my guests sometimes do not have the vaccination card on them, and that can be troubling for them," said Martin Torres, manager at La Neta on Newbury Street.

City health officials want the COVID positivity rate at less than 5%. On Thursday, Boston reported 4.6%. Hospital ICU capacity had already met Wu's standard earlier in the week. So that leaves the seven-day hospitalization average as the only metric keeping the vaccination passport policy in place. Mayor Wu wants it below 200 per day. Thursday it was at 236.7.

Meantime, other cities are easing restrictions. Worcester's indoor mask mandate ends Friday. The manager of Worcester's indoor Public Market, Domenic Mercurio, said businesses are ready. "Hygiene is the top priority, so the place is going to clean. We keep the doors open for airflow, provided the weather's nice enough outside," he said. "We're looking forward to not having the argument with folks about not wearing a mask. It's going to be great."

In Boston, even if the vaccine passport policy is dropped soon, Mayor Wu has said the indoor mask mandate will stay in place for now.

"I'd love to see a percent positivity maybe around 3, 4, 5 percent," said WebMD Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Whyte. "Sometimes seeing each other's face is important," he said. "We may not be there in all parts of the country, but I think in many areas of the country including Boston, we are moving there quickly."

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