The “Key to NYC Pass” program will launch on August 16, and the city will begin enforcing it on September 13. New Yorkers will be expected to show proof of vaccination for dining, exercise, entertainment, and indoor work.
The policy is meant to line up with the start date of the city’s schools and when workers return to offices.
The mayor’s office is aggressively working to vaccinate New Yorkers to prevent a third wave of COVID-19 and has experimented with several incentive programs amid the Delta variant’s surge. De Blasio previously mandated that all city employees get vaccinated or get weekly COVID tests and offered $100 incentives to any person receiving their first dose of vaccine from a city-run vaccination site.
Currently, the “Key to NYC Pass” is not a separate piece of paperwork or digital file. New Yorkers will use their already existing vaccine cards or the Excelsior Pass smartphone app to verify their vaccination status or negative COVID test results.
De Blasio said that if you are vaccinated, “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, there are going to be fewer and fewer things that you’re able to do.”
In recent days, some larger cities like Washington, D.C. and San Francisco have reintroduced masking restrictions due to heightened fear of the Delta variant and breakthrough cases. De Blasio has been hesitant to push for additional masking requirements, saying that he is worried that it may discourage people from getting vaccinated. On Monday, De Blasio encouraged New Yorkers to wear face coverings, but he did not explicitly require that they be worn indoors.
The “Key to NYC Pass” program parallels the recently enacted French indoor health pass mandate. The French mandate requires patrons of cinemas, museums, swimming pools, and more to provide proof of vaccination under threat of legal action. It also stipulates that any indoor gathering with more than 50 attendees would require proof of vaccination to attend.
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