If you want to go to a gym, eat inside a restaurant, or see a movie or Broadway performance in New York City, you’ll soon need to provide proof that you are vaccinated against COVID-19.
The requirement will go into effect on August 16, and after a transition period, inspections and enforcement will begin September 13 — when the city’s public schools reopen for the fall and more workers return to offices in Manhattan — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced at a press conference. Once the policy goes into effect, New York City will be the first big city in the U.S. to impose such restrictions.
The policy, de Blasio explained, will put pressure on people to get vaccinated. The mayor had already announced that city employees will be required to get vaccinated by mid-September or face weekly testing. The city has also offered a $100 incentive for residents to get vaccinated.
“If you want to participate in our society fully, you’ve got to get vaccinated,” de Blasio said. “If you’re unvaccinated, unfortunately, you will not be able to participate in many things.”
“Not everyone is going to agree with this, but for so many people, this is going to be a lifesaving act — that we are putting a mandate in place that is going to guarantee a much higher level of vaccination in this city,” he said, a New York Times article reports. “This will be the key to protecting people, and the key to our recovery.”
The COVID-19 vaccine is available to all New York residents 12 and older. Just over 70 percent of all adults in New York City have received at least one vaccine dose, and 66 percent are fully vaccinated, according to city data.
How The Plan Will Work
New York state already has a COVID-centered app called Excelsior Pass. “The app empowers New Yorkers to retrieve and easily store a digital form of vaccine or negative test credentials, so they don’t have to worry about misplacing or damaging their CDC vaccination card or other paper records,” the state explains.
As part of New York City’s new program, the city will create a similar app — to be known as the “Key to NYC Pass” — so employees and customers alike at indoor restaurants, gyms, and entertainment and performance venues can demonstrate proof of vaccination.
To enter those establishments in New York City, people will need to present a paper vaccination card or use either the city’s Key to NYC Pass or the state’s Excelsior app.
Attending Broadway Shows
The Broadway League in New York City had previously announced that when Hamilton, The Lion King, Chicago, and all other Broadway shows return to the stage next month in New York City, patrons will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. You’ll also be required to wear a mask inside the theater, except while eating and drinking in designated locations.
All audience members attending shows at the 41 Broadway theaters in New York City, as well as performers, backstage crew, and theatre staff, will need to be fully vaccinated with a vaccine authorized by the Food and Drug Administration or World Health Organization.
The date of the show must be at least 14 days after the second dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine or at least 14 days after a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine.
This policy is in effect through at least October 31, 2021. “For performances in November 2021 and beyond, theatre owners anticipate a review of policies in September, and may include a relaxation of certain provisions if the science dictates,” stated the Broadway League.
Broadway’s Policy For Vaccine Exemptions
Children under age 12 who are currently not eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines and people “with a medical condition or closely held religious belief” who choose not to get vaccinated must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of the performance start time or a negative COVID-19 antigen test taken within six hours of the performance start time, the Broadway League explained.
Theatergoers will need to show their proof of vaccination or proof of a negative test as they enter the theatre with a valid performance ticket.
Most Shows Reopen In September
Bruce Springsteen’s one-man show Springsteen on Broadway was the first to open after the pandemic shut down Broadway theatres in March 2020. The show opened June 26 and runs through September 4.
The Broadway play Pass Over begins previews August 4 and will open September 12.
Otherwise, Hadestown and Waitress are set to resume September 2, with Hamilton, Wicked, The Lion King, and Chicago reopening September 14.
A full calendar of reopening dates — as well as a list of shows that will make their debut this fall — can be found on Broadway.com.
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