Boston COVID-19 testing pledge
Boston and our country are facing an increase in COVID-19 positive rates, the likes of which we haven’t seen since the spring. As we head into the months ahead, it’s critical we all come together to look out for one another and our community. We must take steps to stop the spread of COVID-19.
A key part of stopping the spread is testing. While earlier this year tests were hard to come by, Boston has expanded access to testing. We are now encouraging all residents to get tested — and especially those who are going outside their home for work or other reasons. But there’s a problem: not enough people are taking advantage of our resources and getting tested. Residents with no symptoms can still be infected with COVID-19 and transmit the virus, according to the CDC. We need more residents to get tested. Those who interact with others in any setting should consider getting tested on a regular basis. For that reason, we are inviting all Boston employers to take a pledge in support of increasing testing access for their employees.
About the City of Boston's commitment
The City of Boston is committed to expanding access to testing. We will be offering benefit-eligible City employees one paid hour every 14 days to get tested during their normal work hours. Employees will receive regular compensation for their time spent testing. They will not be required to utilize their sick or personal time for one hour of testing.
We encourage businesses and employers throughout Boston to join us, by making sure their employees:
- know when to get tested
- know how to get tested, and
- have access to the resources they need to take care of their own and our collective public health.
Take the pledge to #GetTheTestBoston. Provide the resources your employees need to get tested, stop the spread of COVID-19, and avoid a setback in our reopening process. We also encourage individuals to take the pledge to demonstrate their commitment to stopping the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.
How to get involved
Take the pledge! Encourage all your employees to consider getting tested, even if they don’t have symptoms, especially:
- anyone who may be experiencing COVID-like symptoms
- those at high risk for complications
- people in close contact with someone who is infected with COVID-19, and
- anyone who has traveled or been in large gatherings.
Share locations for COVID-19 testing (in Boston, and across the Commonwealth). Let your employees know which ones are free, including for asymptomatic individuals, such as Boston’s mobile testing sites.
Consider giving your employees paid time off to go get tested during work hours.
Take the pledge! Get tested for COVID-19, even if you don't have symptoms, especially if:
- you may be experiencing COVID-like symptoms
- you are at high risk for complications
- you have come in close contact with someone who is infected with COVID-19, or
- you have traveled or been in large gatherings.
Share locations for COVID-19 testing (in Boston, and across the Commonwealth). Tell others about sites with free testing, including for asymptomatic individuals, such as Boston’s mobile testing sites.
Share #GetTheTestBoston on your social media, and encourage your network to get tested.
Practice public health guidance:
- wear a mask or face covering
- wash your hands and clean your surfaces
- keep 6 feet of distance, and
- avoid large gatherings (especially parties).
Common questionsCommon questions
The City of Boston is encouraging everyone to get tested for COVID-19, regardless of symptoms. You should get tested if you:
- are experiencing COVID-like symptoms
- are at high risk for complications from COVID-19
- if you have been in contact with someone who is infected with COVID-19, and
- if you have traveled or been in large gatherings.
Symptoms of COVID-19 include:
- fever or chills
- shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- muscle or body aches
- new loss of taste or smell
- sore throat
- congestion or runny nose
- nausea or vomiting, and
Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus, and can range from mild to severe.
COVID-19 spreads easily through close contact from person to person, including between people who are physically near each other (within about 6 feet). It spreads through small droplets when a person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks or breathes. People who are infected but do not show symptoms can spread the virus to others.
These droplets can land on surfaces and a person may get COVID-19 by touching a surface that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. There is growing evidence that droplets and airborne particles can remain suspended in the air and be breathed in by others, and travel distances beyond 6 feet. In general, indoor environments without good ventilation increase this risk.
These are the reasons that face coverings, social distancing, hand washing and washing of surfaces and not congregating in groups are important to prevention of COVID-19.
Right now, the City of Boston is encouraging residents to do their part to stop the spread of COVID-19, and a large part of stopping the spread is getting more people tested.
If you haven’t been tested for COVID-19 before, you should consider getting tested to protect yourself and others from the virus. Residents with no symptoms can still be infected with COVID-19 and contribute to pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic transmission, according to the CDC. When individuals know their current COVID-19 status, this helps them make decisions that could save lives.
The City of Boston is partnering with community health centers to increase access to testing, particularly in neighborhoods experiencing higher rates of COVID-19. Please note:
- There is FREE, ASYMPTOMATIC, LOW-THRESHOLD TESTING at our mobile testing sites in the City. Current mobile testing site locations are available on our website. These sites are available to anyone regardless of insurance.
- All sites are available regardless of immigration status and will not affect "public charge" rule determinations.
- Other neighborhood testing sites have different policies regarding the availability of asymptomatic testing and insurance coverage, so please call ahead via their listed contact numbers on the website to check their availability, and policies on asymptomatic testing and insurance coverage.
- Some sites require you to call ahead for pre-screening and to schedule an appointment.
View our map of testing sites for more details. If you live outside of Boston, or near a neighboring municipality, the State also has a map of testing sites throughout Massachusetts that you are able to access.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should call your healthcare provider. This is especially important for individuals at high risk for complications from COVID-19.
Check with your employer to see if they offer any accommodations for testing.
For City of Boston employees, the City will be offering benefit eligible City employees up to one paid hour every 14 days to get tested during their normal work hours. Employees will receive regular compensation for their time spent testing, and will not be required to utilize sick or personal time for one hour of testing.
Testing at the City of Boston’s mobile testing sites is completely free. Test for symptomatic individuals is also free. Mobile site locations in Boston are available online.
At certain standing testing sites, the cost of asymptomatic tests may vary depending on your insurance provider. For City of Boston employees with either BCBS, Harvard Pilgrim, or Allways health plans, asymptomatic tests are not a covered benefit, but the mobile testing options are available to all.
- Do I need to have symptoms to get tested?
- Will I be billed or is it free?
- Is it a walk-up or a drive-thru site?
- Do I need to make an appointment?
Timing for results varies based on where you get tested. You should ask your testing site about their results timeline for the most up to date information.
For more information, visit our COVID-19 informational page.
Business that have signed the pledge
- Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology
- Boston Bruins
- Boston Celtics
- Boston Red Sox
- Boston Main Streets
- Bunker Hill Community College
- Greater Boston Labor Council
- Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP
- Rapid 7
- Rise Construction Management
- Roxbury Community College
- Stop & Shop
- Flour Bakery & Cafe
- Myers & Chang
- Sociedad Latina
- Weber Shandwick
- Soleil Restaurant
- Emerson College
- TD Garden
- The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce
- UNITE HERE Local 26