Mayor Bill de Blasio announced at a press conference on Tuesday that restaurants, bars, gyms, and other “indoor activities” will begin mandating proof of Covid-19 vaccination starting next month.
Under the new Key to NYC Pass program, which launches on August 16, New Yorkers will be required to provide the physical card issued upon vaccination, or display the electronic New York State Excelsior Pass or NYC Covid Safe app for entry to indoor businesses like restaurants, theaters and fitness centers. Enforcement begins on September 13.
“The Key to NYC Pass opens a lot of doors,” de Blasio said.
The mayor thanked Union Square Hospitality Group CEO Danny Meyer and fitness chains Equinox and SoulCycle for introducing their own requirements in advance of the mandate.
“We’ve seen leaders in the private sector blaze the trail here,” the mayor said.
“The safety of our staff family and our guests are our main, main concern,” Tren’ness Woods-Black of Sylvia’s restaurant and the NYC Hospitality Alliance said in support of the initiative at the conference. “When you work in the hospitality industry and the restaurant industry, you’re serving, and safety is something that we take just as seriously as our recipes.”
“It is a matter of life and death here,” Woods-Black said.
The move comes one day after the mayor announced recommendations that even vaccinated New Yorkers should continue or return to wearing masks indoors. The Key to the City Pass is intended to further incentivize New Yorkers to get vaccinated and stop the spread of the aggressive Delta variant. The mayor said this new approach to combating the virus is the first of its kind in the U.S.
“If you want to participate in our society fully, you’ve gotta get vaccinated,” de Blasio said.