On Monday, New York City will be one of the first major U.S. cities to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination for numerous indoor activities.
Called the “Key to NYC Pass,” the policy requires patrons of bars and restaurants, indoor fitness facilities, and indoor entertainment and performance venues — and employees at those places — to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination. After a transition period, inspections and enforcement will begin September 13 — when the city’s public schools reopen for the fall and more workers are expected to return to offices in Manhattan, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced.
“If you want to participate in our society fully, you’ve got to get vaccinated,” de Blasio said prior to the official move. “… If you’re unvaccinated, unfortunately, you will not be able to participate in many things.”
Realizing that there may be some resistance to the mandate, de Blasio went on to say “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,” The New York Times reports. “This will be the key to protecting people, and the key to our recovery.”
How The Plan Will Work
Beginning August 16, everyone at bars and restaurants, indoor fitness facilities, and indoor entertainment and performance venues will need to provide proof of vaccination.
One type of proof of vaccination is to use the State of New York’s Excelsior Pass, an app only for people who received their COVID-19 vaccine in the State of New York. Another option is to use the NYC COVID Safe app, which allows anyone — regardless of where they were vaccinated — to upload their vaccine card. Use of either app means you won’t need to carry your CDC vaccination card around.
There are two other options as well. First, of course, anyone — regardless of where they live or where they were vaccinated — can simply present the CDC vaccination card they received from their vaccination provider.
Alternatively, if someone from New York City has lost their COVID-19 vaccination card or requires verification of their vaccine status, they can request an official record from the State of New York. This record may be used as proof of vaccination, the New York City Health Department explains.
All that said, it should be pointed out that the mayor’s office has explained that the process may be refined before the Key to NYC Pass begins to be enforced in September. A spokesperson for the city wrote, “The City has embarked on a listening tour to gather feedback across industries and incorporate businesses’ needs into the final guidance.”
Progress So Far
Earlier this week, Mayor Blasio announced that more than 50 businesses in New York City already require proof of COVID-19 vaccination to comply with the Key to NYC plan.
“Early adopters of the Key to NYC program are public health heroes. Their leadership and fast action sends a powerful message: New Yorkers will do everything in our power to keep each other safe and defeat COVID-19,” said de Blasio. “Mass vaccination is the only way to stop the spread – and these businesses are giving New Yorkers more reasons than ever to protect themselves and their communities. I’m proud to stand with them.”
Although city officials anticipate some resistance to the program, many people are comfortable with the vaccination mandate — especially since compliance is so easy.
“All customers have to do to get in is present their smartphone showing a copy of their vaccination card or their Excelsior Pass, or they can simply show their actual vaccination card,” Laura Albers, vice president of marketing for City Winery, said in a CBS Channel 2 (New York) article.
Know Before You Go
The COVID-19 vaccine is available to all New York residents 12 and older. Almost 74 percent of all adults in New York City have received at least one vaccine dose, and 67 percent are fully vaccinated, according to city data.