Acting Mayor Kim Janey maintained her position on not instating a COVID-19 vaccine requirement to enter indoor spaces like restaurants and gyms in an interview with Boston Public Radio on Wednesday.

Janey said that while infection rates are rising due to the delta variant, hospitalizations remain low.

"While we've seen infections go up, hospitalizations have remained well under the threshold," she said. "Right now, there's a 7-day average of around 70 [cases that require hospitalization] ... When we opened up the city back in May, it was much higher, at 126. Back in January it was 400. We're well under the threshold."

Janey also pointed to other city policies, such as the mask mandate in all municipal buildings and vaccine requirement for the 18,000 city workers, and encouraged private employers to do the same.

She did not rule out the potential for a proof-of-vaccination requirement across the city in the future, saying that if the situation worsens, she will use "every tool in our toolbox."

"I will certainly do everything, using every tool in our toolbox, to protect the people of Boston," she said.

Janey is running among a historic field of candidates of color and women: fellow City Councilors Andrea Campbell, Annissa Essaibi George and Michelle Wu, and Boston's former economic development directorJohn Barros.

Janey pointed to her lived experience in the city — she grew up in Roxbury and the South End, faced housing instability, and is a single mom — and said she is "informed through a lens of equity, justice and love."

On rent control

Janey's stance on rent control has changed during the campaign, and she said she is now in favor of a local option for rent stabilization.

For much of the campaign, Wu was the sole vocal advocate for rent control as a means to deal with the housing crisis in Boston. Rent control was abolished state-wide by a 1994 voter referendum. But there's a growing push to allow individual cities and towns to set their own rent control policies.

"I think a local option is very important, we have legislation that's being supported by advocates, and pushed for by advocates and community groups throughout Boston, and I support that local option," Janey said.

But Janey also noted that rent control or stabilization policies are not the only tool she would use, saying it would need to be paired with more affordable housing development and federal housing resources.

On Mass. and Cass

The area along Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard, known as Mass and Cass, has become the epicenter of the opioid epidemic in Boston, exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Janey said she supports a regional approach to alleviating the consolidation of services and struggle that has occurred in that area.

She's promoted the return of the Long Island recovery center and advocated for a ferry system to be activated while the protracted issue around rebuilding the bridge is negotiated.

"While I won't give up on a bridge, I know a bridge is long term," she said, "and people need help right now."

Janey said more needs to be done on the ground; while she appreciates the work of the city's task force over the past two years, she said "we need to revamp that, we need to make sure we're moving on the ground in a way that gets people the service and the treatment they need."

On Patrick Rose

At the end of July, Janey's office released a trio of recommendations from the new Office of Police Accountability and Transparency (OPAT) based on its review of the police department's handling of the case of Patrick Rose, the former officer and union president who remained on the force for decades despite credible allegations of sexual assault on a child.

But the report offered the public little new information about how Rose was allowed to remain on the force, and did not include more documents from Rose's internal affairs file -- some of which Janey had released previously, but claimed she could not release more without compromising survivors' identity protections.

"The report by Stephanie Everett [of OPAT] was always meant to explore and understand what happened in terms of process," she said. "In terms of people, I think it's clear: The leadership of the department could always have made a different choice. Did not make a different choice."

Host Jim Braude pressed Janey to confirm by leadership she meant former police commissioner Paul Evans, who led the department at the time Rose was on the force, and who has called on Janey to release the full Rose internal affairs file.

"A police commissioner has the right to fire or dismiss any officer, that's always the case," she said, adding that Evans could have released the file himself and did not do so.

Light was only shed on Rose's case after a Boston Globe investigation revealed the BPD in 1995 filed a criminal complaint against Rose for sexual assault of a 12-year-old.

"The culture of the police department has always been historically to withhold files," she said. "What I've done as mayor over the last four months is release more files than anyone, any police commissioner, any former mayor."