More city and state leaders are making decisions about lifting and maintaining COVID-19 restrictions

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While some city and state leaders have decided to eliminate mask requirements and proof of COVID-19 verification, others have maintained or expanded restrictions.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said Friday that the city will no longer require proof of vaccinations from guests and employees of its restaurants, gyms and other indoor spaces.

REPEAL OF MASK MANDATES IN NEW MEXICO, WASHINGTON

The chairman cited recent health data showing that Boston has a 4% community positivity rate and a seven-day average of adult COVID-19 hospitalizations of 196 per day.

In addition, Boston has an occupancy rate of almost 91% of its adult intensive care unit beds.

She had previously said that the requirement would be lifted if the community positivity rate fell below 5%, less than 95% of ICU beds were occupied and the seven-day average COVID-19 hospitalizations fell below 200 per day .

Michelle Wu speaks to supporters after winning her Boston mayoral race to become the first woman and first person of color to be elected to office on November 2, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts, United States.
(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

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

Many other leaders are following suit, and Washington state will no longer require immunization verification or proof of a negative COVID-19 test to attend major events.

In addition, the state’s mask requirement will be lifted in most places – including schools and daycare centers – from March 21.

On Thursday, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham also lifted her state’s mask mandate for indoor public spaces.

However, while some have taken steps to relax regulations — including in California, Connecticut, Oregon, Illinois and other states — others have extended mandates.

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In Newark, N.J., Fox 5 reported Thursday that the mayor issued an executive order that would relax the city’s vaccination record for businesses, but would still require proof of vaccination or a negative test.

In addition, Mayor Ras Baraka extended the mask requirement for all indoor public facilities until at least February 28.

In the South, the Navajo Nation — which stretches into New Mexico, Utah and Arizona — maintains a mask mandate, and President Jonathan Nez said the tribe must do whatever it takes to help those treating those affected.

“Please be very careful, encourage your elders to take precautions and keep praying,” he said in a statement Friday.

A statewide mandate for corporate face masks has expired in New York, where the Omicron variant began infecting large numbers in December.

On Friday, state health officials said they would not be enforcing their mandate requiring healthcare workers to receive COVID-19 boosters amid concerns about staff shortages.

“While we are making progress with 75% of staff having received their refresher or are ready to make progress, the reality is that not enough medical staff will be augmented through next week’s demands to address significant staffing issues in our to avoid an already overburdened health care system,” State Health Commissioner Mary Bassett said in a statement.

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New York already requires healthcare workers to be vaccinated, with exceptions for workers who do not qualify for the vaccination for medical reasons.

Bassett said officials would review the booster mandate in three months, and California, Connecticut and New Mexico have announced plans to require boosters for healthcare workers.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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