NYC Is the First Major U.S. City to Require COVID-19 Vaccination to Enter Gyms, Restaurants, and Venues

Thanks to a new NYC vaccine mandate, you’ll soon need to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination in order to enjoy indoor dining, gyms, and entertainment venues, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today. With the mandate, which begins to take effect August 16, New York City will be the first major U.S. city to have a COVID-19 vaccination requirement like this, Reuters reports.

“Today I announce the new approach which we’re calling the Key to NYC Pass,” de Blasio said in a press conference. “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 the amazing things that are available in this city.” 

NYC is a “miraculous place full of wonders and if you’re vaccinated all that is going to open up to you. You’ll have the key, you can open the door,” he said. “But if you’re not vaccinated, unfortunately, you will not be able to participate in many things. That’s the point we’re trying to get across; it’s time for people to see vaccination as literally necessary to living a full and healthy life.”

The new NYC vaccine mandate requires that customers and staff are vaccinated at indoor dining establishments, indoor gyms and fitness studios, and indoor entertainment venues and performances. (It’s a move similar to the one French authorities announced last month that will require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to eat at a restaurant in the country.) But, according to the mandate, people do not need to be fully vaccinated, de Blasio said. They only need to provide proof of “at least one dose.” 

Some major businesses and organizations have already implemented their own vaccine mandates, including SoulCycle, Equinox, and the Broadway League. New York City also recently began requiring all healthcare workers and city employees to get vaccinated or take regular COVID-19 tests. And the city also recently began offering a $100 incentive for people to get their first shot. Once vaccinated, people can use their vaccine card, the NYC COVID SAFE app, or the state’s Excelsior Pass app to prove their status. (Despite its name, the Key to NYC Pass is not a new proof-of-vaccination app. It’s just the name of the mandate, as Mashable explains.)

The Key to NYC Pass will launch on August 16 and will start to be fully enforced the week of September 13. “The goal here is to convince everyone that this is the time,” de Blasio said. “If we want to stop the delta variant, the time is now—and that means getting vaccinated right now.”

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