4 big US cities add indoor vaccine mandates to combat omicron spread

Dec 24, 2021

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As the omicron variant continues to spread nationwide, several of the nation’s biggest cities are adding new COVID restrictions.

Though the particular details differ by city, you’ll soon need a vaccine certificate to access indoor dining and other cultural activities in many places nationwide.

We’ll break down the new mandates below.

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In This Post

Boston

The Paul Revere Monument in the historic North End neighborhood of Boston.
(Photo by Patrick Donovan/Getty Images)

Starting on Jan. 15, 2022, everyone 12 years and older will need to show proof of at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to enter certain venues. Beginning Feb. 15, 2022, everyone will need to show proof of two doses, except for those who received the one-shot Johnson and Johnson Janssen vaccine.

Finally, starting on March 1, proof of vaccination will also include children over the age of five.

The proof of vaccination requirement will apply to the following indoor venues:

  • Indoor dining, including bars and restaurants
  • Indoor fitness venues like gyms
  • Indoor entertainment, recreational and event venues, including theater shows or sports games

Chicago

Pedestrians crossing the street in downtown Chicago.
(Photo courtesy of Eduardo Fonseca Arraes/Getty Images)

Effective Jan. 3, 2022, any individual five years of age or older will be required to show proof that they are fully vaccinated to enter most indoor venues in Chicago. To be considered fully vaccinated, you’ll need to wait two weeks after the second dose of a two-dose vaccine series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine.

The proof of vaccination requirement will apply to the following indoor venues:

  • Indoor dining establishments, including bars, restaurants and coffee shops — anywhere where food is served indoors
  • Indoor fitness, including gyms and fitness venues with any indoor classes
  • Indoor entertainment and recreation venues where food or beverages are served

Philadelphia

Liberty Bell and Independence Hall in Philadelphia
Liberty Bell and Independence Hall in Philadelphia. (Photo by rabbit75_ist/Getty Images)

Starting on Jan. 3, 2022, anyone 12 years or older will need to show proof of full vaccination to enter most indoor venues in Philadelphia. For the first two weeks of the order, venues can accept a negative COVID-19 test from the past 24 hours in lieu of proof of full vaccination.

Children between the ages of five and 11 must have at least one dose by Jan. 3 and be fully vaccinated by Feb. 3 in order to enter indoor venues.

Philly’s vaccine mandate applies to all indoor dining venues and includes catering halls, movie theaters and indoor sports stadiums.

Washington, DC

Cherry blossom blooming Washington, D.C. with monument in the background
(Photo by John Baggaley/Getty Images)

Starting on Jan. 15, 2022, anyone 12 years or older will be required to show proof of at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to enter most indoor establishments in the nation’s capital. A month later, on Feb. 15, 2022, patrons will need to be fully vaccinated (at least two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine) to enter the following venues:

  • Restaurants, bars and nightclub establishments
  • Indoor exercise establishments
  • Indoor entertainment facilities
  • Indoor event and meeting establishments

Bottom line

Adding indoor vaccine mandates comes as the nation is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases due to the omicron variant. As the new year begins, you’ll need to travel with your vaccine card to enter most indoor establishments in many of the nation’s largest cities.

The latest round of mandates joins those that have already been established in places like New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

All told, it looks like next year’s hottest new travel accessory will be your vaccine card.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

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