New York City to Require Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination for Indoor Dining, Fitness and Entertainment

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New York City will soon require proof of COVID-19 vaccination for indoor dining, fitness and entertainment, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Tuesday.

The first-in-the nation approach — called the "Key to NYC Pass" — will apply to workers and customers in those indoor spaces, he said. 

"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 New York City," de Blasio said at a press conference. "This is a miraculous place, literally full of wonders, and if you're vaccinated, all that's gonna open up to you. You'll have the key, you can open the door."

"But if you're unvaccinated, unfortunately, you will not be able to participate in many things," the mayor said. 

"It's time for people to see vaccination as literally necessary to living a good and full and healthy life," he added. 

The news comes as the delta variant of COVID-19 fuels a surge in infections. Health officials in New York are taking precautions to prevent another outbreak. 

At the beginning of the pandemic, New York City was an epicenter of the disease, with hospital beds overrun and doctors and nurses short on lifesaving ventilators. With restrictions now lifting, health officials are trying to prevent another wave by urging residents to get vaccinated, rather than enforce a controversial mask mandate. 

The city currently boasts a 66% vaccination rate for adults, but de Blasio hopes that the new mandate will encourage more New Yorkers to get vaccinated and fully "participate" in all city life has to offer. 

The policy will be phased in over the coming weeks. Vaccinations are not required to eat outdoors but those who want to attend indoor venues and events must download the city's app or carry their paper vaccination card with them. The final details will be announced and implemented during the week of August 16, with full enforcement by mid-September.

Mark Levine, who chairs the City Council's Health Committee, called it a "critical measure" to slow the spread of the Delta variant and incentivize getting vaccinated.

New York City is also requiring all municipal workers to be vaccinated by the start of school on September 13 or face weekly testing, and all new employees must provide proof of vaccination. 

"Not everyone is going to agree with this, I understand that. But for so many people, this is going to be a lifesaving act, that we are putting a mandate in place that is going to guarantee a much higher level of vaccination in this city," de Blasio said Tuesday. "And that is the key to protecting people, and the key to our recovery."

This story was originally published by CBS News on Aug. 3, 2021 at 11:45 a.m. ET.


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