Politics & Policy

Cuomo Urges New York Businesses to Adopt ‘Vaccine-Only Admission’

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D., N.Y.) speaks during a news conference in New York, July 6, 2021. (Jeenah Moon/Reuters)

During a press briefing Monday, Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo urged private businesses in the state to adopt “vaccine-only admission” and allow entry exclusively to patrons that verify their vaccination status.

“Private businesses, I am asking them and suggesting to them: Go to vaccine-only admission. Go to vaccine-only admission. We did this, Radio City Music Hall, months ago. Reopened vaccine-only, sold out all the shows. Sports arenas. They went up to about 90 percent vaccine-only. Private businesses, bars, restaurants. Go to a vaccine-only admission. I believe it’s in your best business interest,” Cuomo said.

Since persuasion and encouragement has still not swayed a percentage of the state’s population to get the shot, Cuomo is now advocating for soft coercion, suggesting that private enterprises withhold goods and services to those who have abstained.

“If you say to people, ‘Well, if you don’t have a vaccine, you can’t get into these establishments,’ then you will see a real incentive to get vaccinated,” he said.

Cuomo also asked local government to implement the CDC’s updated mask rules, a reversal from the agency’s February policy, recommending some vaccinated individuals resume mask-wearing in regions of the country with high-transmissibility rates.

The governor’s statement comes after his Democratic colleague, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, issued his own direction for the city based on the latest CDC guidance.

The mayor told New Yorkers to start wearing masks again in indoor settings, regardless of vaccination status, but stopped short of re-imposing a mandate. He emphasized vaccination efforts over mask protocol and also encouraged establishments in the city to start requiring proof of vaccination as a condition of entry.

Cuomo acknowledged that a mask policy is important but doesn’t go far enough to combat the still ongoing pandemic, stating that a “vaccination policy” is the next step.

“What does that mean? Well, we’ve taken the first step [as a state] … which is you either have to get a vaccine or a weekly test. That’s the first step, but it’s only the first. And that I believe we need to expand,” Cuomo said, referencing his last order requiring all state employees to get vaccinated by a Labor Day deadline.

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