New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Tuesday that the city will soon require proof of COVID-19 vaccination for indoor activities amid a nationwide surge in cases driven by the Delta variant.
“If we want to stop the Delta variant, the time is now,” de Blasio said at a press conference. “If you want to participate in our society fully, you’ve got to get vaccinated.”
The new requirement, which applies to indoor dining, gyms and indoor entertainment venues, will go into effect Aug. 16. Following a grace period, the city will begin enforcement of the mandate next month.
De Blasio said the city was following the example set by businesses like Equinox and SoulCycle, which announced Monday that proof of vaccination will be necessary to enter their NYC clubs.
As part of the new program, New York City will create a health pass called the Key to NYC Pass to provide proof of vaccination. New York state already offers a similar pass through its Excelsior app.
“This city is a miraculous place, literally full of wonders, and if you’re vaccinated, all of that is going to open up to you,” de Blasio said. “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.
“It’s time for people to see vaccinations as literally necessary to living a good and full and healthy life,” he continued.
“Not everyone’s going to agree with this,” de Blasio added. “But for so many people, this is going to be the lifesaving act. It’s going to guarantee a much higher level of vaccination in this city, and that is the key to protecting people and the key to our recovery.”
It is the latest effort by the mayor to get New Yorkers vaccinated. According to the city’s health department, about 66 percent of adults are fully vaccinated.
De Blasio announced last week that city employees would be required to get vaccinated or face weekly testing.
But he has resisted calls to mandate masks indoors, as several cities in California have done.
It’s unclear how the policy will apply to children under 12, who are not yet eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. De Blasio said the details would be finalized over the next few weeks.
“The goal, of course, is not to exclude anybody who cannot be vaccinated,” he said, “but we have to figure out how to do things in a safe manner.”
The total number of reported COVID cases in New York City has ticked up in the last few weeks. The city is now averaging more than 1,200 new cases per day, compared with 780 last month. Daily hospitalizations and deaths have remained stable.
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