Health Care

New York City Requires Proof of Vaccination for Indoor Activities

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks in Times Square in New York, April 12, 2021. (Jeenah Moon/Reuters)

New York City will require proof of vaccination for various indoor venues, including restaurants, gyms and performances, as a condition of entry.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the mandate Tuesday morning. As part of the new program, New York City is launching a health pass called the “Key to NYC Pass” for both employees and patrons to present verification of vaccination at restaurants, concert halls, and a number of other recreational facilities.

“If you want to participate in our society fully, you’ve got to get vaccinated,” de Blasio said at the Tuesday press conference.

The policy, effective later this month, models the health pass system already implemented in parts of Europe, which allows vaccinated individuals special access to certain indoor settings. In France, the mandate triggered protests across the country calling for freedom from invasive government intervention. While France’s version requires proof of vaccination or a recent negative test result, NYC’s system does not allow an option for testing.

The mayor’s directive comes after he urged residents to resume mask-wearing regardless of vaccination status per the CDC’s guidance reversal.  The CDC’s update recommends that even vaccinated individuals start wearing masks again in regions of the country with high transmissibility rates, namely the South and Midwest. New York City does not currently qualify under that definition.

The mayor already required city workers to get the shot by a September deadline or present mandatory weekly test results in order to remain employed. He has been intensifying efforts to vaccinate the NYC population, moving from persuading and incentivizing those who have abstained with information and monetary awards to coercive mandates that bar the unvaccinated from participating in society.

“We think it is so important to make clear that if you are vaccinated, you get to benefit in all sorts of ways,” the mayor said Monday during an interview on NY1. “You get to live a better life. Besides your health in general, you get to participate in many, many things. And if you’re unvaccinated, they are going to be fewer and fewer things that you’re able to do.”

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