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NYC to Require Vaccine Proof for Indoor Restaurants, Gyms and Performances

August 3, 2021 by Dan McCue
Times Square in New York City. (Wikimedia Commons)

NEW YORK — New York City will require proof of vaccination for people going to indoor activities like restaurants, gyms and performances, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday.

The program, one of the first of its kind in the United States, will launch Aug. 16 and will be enforced beginning Sept. 13. 

“This is crucial because we know this will encourage a lot more vaccinations,” de Blasio said during a press conference, adding “The goal here is to convince everyone that this is the time to stop the delta variant.”

To implement the mandate, New York City will create a health pass called the Key to NYC Pass, similar to New York State’s Excelsior pass.

The city’s plan is modeled on similar mandates in France. To gain entry into indoor venues, visitors will be required to use either the city’s new NYC Pass digital app, the state’s Excelsior or the paper proof of vaccination card.

Several companies and government entities have already announced mandatory vaccinations for employees.

Last week, the Broadway League announced all 41 Broadway theaters will require vaccinations for audience members, as well as performers, backstage crew, and theatre staff, for all performances through October 2021. Masks will also be required for audiences inside the theaters, except while eating or drinking in designated locations.

The mayor has been moving aggressively to get more New Yorkers vaccinated to curtail a third wave of coronavirus cases. 

He is requiring city workers to get vaccinated or to face weekly testing, and he has offered a $100 incentive for the public.

About 66% of adults in the city are fully vaccinated, according to the city, though vaccination rates are far from uniform in the city’s five boroughs.

Under the new program health and hospital employees working in New York City must be vaccinated or complete weekly COVID tests beginning this week. State employees and MTA workers must also follow the same rules starting on Labor Day.

In an interview with local news outlet NY1 on Monday, de Blasio said he hopes the new rules will encourage New Yorkers to get vaccinated if they want to enjoy city life.

“We think it is so important to make clear that if you are vaccinated, you get to benefit in all sorts of ways,” de Blasio said. “You get to live a better life. Besides your health in general, you get to participate in many, many things. And if you’re unvaccinated, there are going to be fewer and fewer things that you’re able to do.”

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