New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Tuesday that residents will be required to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination to do business indoors at restaurants, gyms, entertainment venues and more starting Sept. 13.
“If you’re unvaccinated, unfortunately, you will not be able to participate in many things,” de Blasio said during a press conference Tuesday morning. “If you want to participate in our society fully, you’ve got to get vaccinated.”
Residents will be forced to show proof by providing one of three options: a paper COVID-19 vaccination card, presenting their New York state Excelsior Pass, or the city’s vaccine passport mobile app.
De Blasio called the program, dubbed “Key to NYC Pass,” a “crucial” step to encouraging vaccinations.
“This is crucial because we know it will encourage more vaccinations,” de Blasio said. “If we’re going to stop the delta variant, the time is now.”
New York is the first major city in America to adopt a vaccination passport policy.
“Dining. Fitness. Performances. Where you see leaders in the private sector already saying clearly that vaccination is the answer. We need these strong, clear mandates,” de Blasio said. “Climbing this ladder is giving up more and more ability to fight back the delta variant. By fighting the deta variant we will continue our recovery and we will ultimately beat COVID.”
“It’s time for people to see vaccinations as literally necessary to living a good, full and healthy life,” de Blasio added.
According to the New York State health department, 63.2 percent of New York’s total population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, equaling more than 12 million people. Over 57 percent are also reported as fully vaccinated, or 11 million people.
While cases are rising, New York City data show the daily average over the last seven days of confirmed deaths remains stable at just three as of August 2.
New York City Councilman Mark Levine asserted that millions of New Yorkers who are unvaccinated are still vulnerable to the delta variant. Still, every adult has been given the choice to take the vaccination.
“Despite our enormous progress in vaccination about 45% of residents of New York City are not yet fully vaccinated and that is enough for this virus to spread,” Levine said.
NYC Hospitality Alliance Executive Director Andrew Rigie called the mayor’s announcement a difficult but essential step.
“Mandating vaccine requirements for restaurant and bar employees and customers to work and dine indoors is a very difficult step, but ultimately may prove an essential move to protecting public health and ensuring that New York City does not revert to restrictions and shut down orders that would again absolutely devastate small businesses that have not yet recovered from the pandemic,” he said.