As the delta variant threatens to suspend a return to normalcy, New York City’s vaccine mandate for indoor entertainment venues, including concert halls, museums, restaurants, bars, fitness gyms, movie and stage theaters, is set to launch Tuesday.
The program, part of the “Key to NYC” initiative, will require New Yorkers to show an Excelsior pass, a CDC paper card or other official documentation, as well as personal identification.
“Defeating the delta variant is the best way to support cultural institutions, because it brings us all back,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a Monday news conference, outlining the requirements. “We believe, if we take these aggressive measures, this is going to encourage a lot of people — audience members and staff alike — to get vaccinated.”
City officials said that children younger than age 12, who are currently ineligible to receive the vaccine, must be accompanied by a vaccinated person to the indoor locations, and they will be encouraged to wear masks.
“We’re saying get at least the first vaccination — of course the goal is to get everyone fully vaccinated — but get at least the first vaccination and you’ll be able to work or enjoy indoor dining, indoor fitness, indoor entertainment, concerts, movie theaters,” de Blasio said.
De Blasio emphasized that the vaccine mandate is not aimed at punishing local indoor businesses that did not comply but rather to increase public safety and take steps toward defeating the virus.
“Our goal is not to penalize restaurants and indoor entertainment and fitness businesses. We want to get everyone clear about what they need to do and just make sure people do it.”
New York City officials will begin inspecting and enforcing the mandate on September 13.