NYC to require COVID-19 vaccination for indoor performances and activities

NYC to require COVID-19 vaccination for indoor performances and activities
New York City. Photo: Sam Valadi.

New York City will soon require proof of at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to enter indoor performance venues, entertainment facilities, gyms and dining establishments, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday.

The requirements, which apply to both patrons and workers, will go into effect starting the week of Aug. 16. The “full enforcement and inspection” of the mandate is expected to begin Sept. 13, when officials anticipate a post-Labor Day surge of activity in the city, the mayor noted.

The new mandate arrives amid rising cases of COVID-19 tied to the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.

“We’re going to use every tool we’ve got to fight the Delta variant and to end the COVID era once and for all in this city,” de Blasio said during a press conference Aug. 3. “That means more and more vaccinations, and we know that strong, clear mandates help.”

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Those planning to attend an indoor activity in New York City can show proof of vaccination via the New York state Excelsior Pass, the paper card issued with vaccination or the new NYC Covid Safe app. The city is still working out what requirements there will be for children under the age of 12, who are not yet eligible for vaccines.

As of Tuesday, a city-wide mask mandate has not been issued.

The program will operate under the name “Key to NYC Pass,” a phrase meant to drum up the image of possibility for those who have been vaccinated.

“The key to New York City — when you hear those words, I want you to imagine the notion that because someone’s vaccinated, they can do all the amazing things that are available in this city,” de Blasio said. “This a miraculous place literally full of wonders. And, if you’re vaccinated, all that’s going to open up to you … But, if you’re un-vaccinated, unfortunately, you will not be able to participate in many things.”

The mandate arrives after the Broadway League announced last week that audience members over the age of 12 must be fully vaccinated in order to attend Broadway shows — a condition that is currently slated to last through October. Those entering one of Broadway’s 41 theaters will also be required to wear masks when not eating or drinking in designated areas.

Whereas the “Key to NYC Pass” plan only requires one dose of the vaccine to enter indoor spaces, the Broadway League noted that eligibility to attend a performance kicks in 14 days after the final dose of the vaccine.

“A uniform policy across all New York City Broadway theatres makes it simple for our audiences and should give even more confidence to our guests about how seriously Broadway is taking audience safety,” Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League, said in a press release.

Data from the Citywide Immunization Registry indicates that around 60% of all NYC residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine, with 55% reported as fully vaccinated.

Top Image: New York City. Photo: Sam Valadi.