‘I’m not putting that in my arm!’: Mixed reaction to vaccine, mask policies at Boston businesses

BOSTON — The ongoing developments involving breakthrough cases in Provincetown, the spread of the Delta variant across the U.S. and evolving guidance from the CDC is weighing on some Boston businesses.

Several businesses across the Boston area have updated their mask or vaccine policies for customers in recent days.

Boomerangs Special Edition thrift and consignment store in Boston’s South End is among the businesses now requiring masks again for all customers.

The store manager told Boston 25 News that the updated policy was a team decision.

He said the response from shoppers has mainly been positive and supportive.

“It is a very small action either as a courtesy to the business or to be more community mindful,” said store manager Micah Belyea. “We do not want to get to that place again where we have to shut down.”

Boomerangs Special Edition has been providing masks to customers who don’t have one but is now waiting on another shipment after running out.

“If you want to require them then have them. If you ran out, they maybe don’t require them,” said Renny Hunter, who didn’t have a mask on hand to enter.

The resurgence of mask requirements or recommendations at certain businesses has been getting mixed reaction.

Some describe being at wits end with restrictions in general after the last year and a half.

“If you want to wear a mask, wear a mask. If you don’t want to wear a mask, don’t,” said Amber Allen. “I don’t know when we’re ever going to be in the clear.”

Others applaud the businesses that are taking a proactive approach without any mandate from the city or state.

“I think we should wear them because why not? It’s not difficult,” said Jill Freedberg.

Some bars and restaurants in Boston and Cambridge are requiring proof of vaccination for those who want to be mask free.

Jacques Cabaret, a drag bar in Boston’s Bay Village neighborhood, will be requiring proof of vaccination starting August 6th. Those who don’t have a vaccine card can still enter but must remain masked throughout the night.

The Middle East, a restaurant and nightclub in Cambridge, isn’t allowing anyone inside who doesn’t have proof of vaccination.

“If you turn me down because I’m not vaccinated, I won’t be mad. See you later! You won’t get my money,” said Sunshine Lewis, who said she has no plans of getting vaccinated.

Lewis isn’t opposed to continued mask wearing but said she will not budge on getting the vaccine.

“I’m not putting that in my arm!” she said. “I’ve been COVID free. I never caught it or anyone in my family. We’ve been blessed. It’s everyone’s choice.”

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