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Massachusetts Restaurant Workers Are Eligible for COVID-19 Vaccines

Finally, and almost a month after Gov. Charlie Baker removed percentage-based capacity caps on indoor dining

Vaccinations at The Reggie Lewis Center
The Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury is one of the state’s mass vaccination sites
Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Good news, everyone: Restaurant workers in Massachusetts are finally eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Other foodservice workers — including grocery store workers, agricultural workers, and meatpackers — also became eligible for the vaccine on March 22.

The state’s restaurants have been open for indoor dining with varying capacity caps since June 2020, which means its restaurant workers have been risking their lives on the front lines of the pandemic (with little to no help from state and federal legislators) to make ends meet for just as long.

COVID-19 infection data has mostly been trending in the right direction in Massachusetts since peaking in January — there’s been an uptick in the past week or so, however — but there are still very real risks associated with indoor dining, and Gov. Charlie Baker’s reopening plan has been criticized by some of the nation’s top infectious disease experts for being hasty and ill-advised.

Baker told foodservice workers that they were essential last March when the pandemic first broke out, and then told them otherwise when the vaccine became available. Finally making all of those workers eligible for the vaccine signals a righting of the ship, but it doesn’t change the fact that the Baker administration didn’t prioritize them to begin with. Opening restaurants at full capacity before making restaurant workers eligible for the vaccine was an unconscionable decision, and nothing will change that fact.

For more information about the Massachusetts vaccine rollout and to check your eligibility status, go here. To preregister for a vaccine appointment at a mass vaccination site, go here. To search for appointments at pharmacies, health care providers, and other community locations, go here.

Massachusetts Restaurant Workers Can Get the COVID-19 Vaccine on March 22 [EBOS]
One Year Into COVID, It Is Difficult to Assess the Breadth of What We’ve Lost [EBOS]
Massachusetts Coronavirus Map and Case Count [NYT]
Experts Urge Caution as 15 States See Uptick in COVID-19 Infections [ABC]
Is Indoor Dining Safe Now That I’m Vaccinated? [E]
CDC Chief Doubles Down On Warning As Mass. Opens Up [WBUR]
Here Are The Essential Businesses In Massachusetts, Under Baker’s New Order [WBUR]
Dining Rooms Shouldn’t Reopen Until Restaurant Workers Are Eligible for the Vaccine [EBOS]