New York City unveiled a new “Key to NYC Pass” program on Tuesday that creates a health pass providing evidence of immunization against COVID-19 in order to enter some indoor settings.
The New York Times reported, “New York City will become the first U.S. city to require proof of vaccination for a variety of activities for workers and customers – indoor dining, gyms and performances – to put pressure on people to get vaccinated, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday morning.”
According to the outlet, “The program, similar to mandates issued in France and Italy last month, will start later this month, and after a transition period, enforcement will begin in mid-September, when schools are expected to reopen and more workers could return to offices in Manhattan.”
“If you want to participate in our society fully, you’ve got to get vaccinated,” said Mayor de Blasio on Tuesday. “It’s time.”
BREAKING NEWS: soon proof of #COVID19 vaccine will be required for indoor dining, indoor gyms, and indoor concerts and performances in New York City. Tune in now for more: https://t.co/i82sfwEyNG
— City of New York (@nycgov) August 3, 2021
The mayor called the move “a lifesaving mandate to keep our city safe” and said NYC would issue a health commissioners order and a mayoral executive order.
“It is time for people to see vaccinations as literally necessary to living a good, full and healthy life,” de Blasio said. “If you’re unvaccinated, unfortunately, you will not be able to participate in many things.”
Reuters reported that “New York City’s policy requires proof of at least one dose and will be enforced starting Sept. 13.” New Yorkers must use either the city’s COVID-19 safe app, the state’s Excelsior app, or present a paper vaccination record card to enter indoor venues affected by the change.
De Blasio explained more about the motives behind the new policy at a press conference on Tuesday:
Today I announce a new approach which we’re calling the “Key to NYC Pass.” The key to New York City. When you hear those words, I want you to imagine the notion that because someone is vaccinated, they can do all of the amazing things that are available in this city. This is a miraculous place, literally full of wonders, and if you’re vaccinated, all of that is going to open up to you. You’ll have the key. You can open the door…
The goal here is to convince everyone that this is the time. If we are going to stop the Delta variant, the time is now, and that means getting vaccinated right now.
De Blasio said the program was being implemented in phases to ensure residents and business owners understand the new strategy, allowing the business community to get acclimated and provide feedback for possible adjustments in the policy.
“Not everyone is going to agree with this; I understand that,” Mayor de Blasio said. “It’s going to guarantee a much higher level of vaccination in this city, and that is the key to protecting people and the key to our recovery. That’s why it’s the ‘Key to NYC.’”
Recent data provided by the city indicates more than 60% of all New York City residents have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, while 55% are fully vaccinated. As of Monday, officials had recorded 10,015,459 total doses administered in NYC. Black New Yorkers have the lowest vaccination rates in the city, as only 35% have received at least one shot, and 31% are fully vaccinated.