New York City to require proof of Covid vaccination for indoor activities including restaurants and gyms

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People wear masks around Times Square, as cases of the infectious coronavirus Delta variant continue to rise in New York City, New York (REUTERS)
People wear masks around Times Square, as cases of the infectious coronavirus Delta variant continue to rise in New York City, New York (REUTERS)

New York City is expected to announce that proof of coronavirus vaccination will be required to allow people to access indoor activities, including restaurants and gyms.

Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed on Tuesday that the city will require proof of vaccination in a policy that is a first of its kind in the US.

“If you want to participate in society fully, you’ve got to get vaccinated. It’s time,” the mayor posted on Twitter while announcing the bold plans. “This is a lifesaving mandate to keep our city safe.”

“Climbing this ladder is giving us more and more ability to fight back the delta variant,” he added.

The new programme will include proof of vaccine verification dubbed the “Key to NYC Pass” and will apply to employees and customers of indoor dining, gyms, entertainment and performances.

Reports said the programme will begin on 16 August but that full enforcement will begin on 13 September after an awareness campaign.

New York State already offers its “Excelsior Pass” for residents to verify proof of vaccination or negative test results.

“New York City is going to lead the world in creating safe, vaccinated public spaces,” Mr de Blasio’s press secretary Bill Neidhardt said in a post on Twitter.

Residents will be required to show either the Key to NYC Pass, the Excelsior Pass or the Center for Disease Control’s paper vaccine card to access indoor activities.

More than 63 per cent of New Yorkers have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccination while over 57 per cent are fully vaccinated.

The announcement comes amid a rise in cases in the city thought to be due to the more transmissible Delta variant of the novel virus.

The new vaccine policy followed an announcement from the mayor on Monday that the city will require municipal workers to get coronavirus vaccines or face weekly virus screening.

“This is about our recovery. This is about what we need to do to bring back New York City,” Mr de Blasio said. “This is about keeping people safe.”

The same day, coronavirus hospitalisations in the state sat at 788. More than 2,143 new positive cases were reported, nearly double the amount of cases the week before.

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo also issued a similar vaccine mandate on Monday for employees of New York’s MTA and Port Authority or weekly coronavirus testing, CNBC reported.

“I don’t believe a mask policy is going to be enough,” Mr Cuomo said at the press conference. “I think we’re going to have to talk about a vaccination policy.”

Unlike the new regulations for transport workers, those who decide not to get vaccinated will not have an option of weekly Covid-19 testing, administration sources told the New York Post.

New York City’s new measures are similar to those imposed in France this month which require everyone to have a “vaccine passport” or recent negative test to enter restaurants.

In Italy, the government announced people would be required to have a “Green Pass” to access indoor dining, local fairs, stadiums, cinemas and other gathering places.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press

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