New rules come into effect on August 16.
The Delta variant has become dominant in the U.S. The CDC has advised vaccinated people to again start wearing masks indoors when they’re in high-transmission areas. Many metropolitan areas are changing their mask mandates, even for fully vaccinated people. In New York City, masks are strongly encouraged and they’re mandatory in schools, hospitals, and on public transport. And now, Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced a new order for the city.
New York City will ask patrons to show proof of vaccination if they want to dine at restaurants, watch a performance at indoor venues, or access gyms and fitness centers. People will need at least one dose in order to enjoy these indoor establishments.
Recommended Fodor’s Video
“It will require vaccination for workers and customers in indoor dining, in indoor fitness, and indoor entertainment facilities. The only way to patronize these establishments indoors is if you are vaccinated, at least one dose,” Mayor Blasio said.
The order, “Key to NYC Pass,” will go into effect on August 16 and, after a transition period, it will be enforced from September 13. The Mayor explained that one month will be spent acclimatizing businesses, answering questions, and making sure everyone understands the new approach.
This makes New York City the first U.S. city to ask for proof of vaccination for indoor activities. However, it is already being implemented in France, where a law was passed last month to make health pass mandatory at restaurants, hotels, and museums, among other places.
In the Big Apple, the new order may complicate things for establishments. Larry Lynch, senior vice president of Science and Industry for the National Restaurant Association, expressed concerns about the backlash restaurant workers faced while trying to get guests to comply last year. “We hope that the city will take this into consideration and will work with us to ensure there is clear guidance and support for our workforce,” his statement said.
Even before the mayor’s announcement, Broadway had plans of its own. It is making a comeback this summer after a long hiatus and the theaters will require all audience members, staff, crew, and performers to be vaccinated. Audiences will also need to wear masks inside the theatre; the only exceptions will be designated areas for drinking and eating.
A uniform policy makes it simple for audiences, President of the Broadway League Charlotte St. Martin states. A review is planned for September when the policies may be relaxed for November performances if there’s reason to do so. For those who can’t get vaccinated (children under 12, people with medical conditions or religious beliefs), a negative COVID test report will be needed to gain access.
That’s not all, though. Anyone who wants to get hired by the city of New York also needs to be vaccinated.
Cases of COVID are rising again in the U.S., particularly in Texas and Florida. Hospitalization and deaths are also spiking, and President Biden has called it “a pandemic of the unvaccinated.” This trend has left local authorities scrambling to hold the gains they’ve made against the virus. Last month in NYC, a $100 incentive was announced to those who got their first dose at a city-run site.
While 55% of New York City residents have been inoculated, the city is reporting 1,200+ new cases every day. The mayor is trying to get more shots in the arms to protect against the strain, and these new measures are another way to push for it.