New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on Monday asked private businesses in the state to switch to "vaccine-only admission" after announcing a new vaccine mandate for transit workers as COVID-19 cases surge.
"Private businesses, I am asking them and suggesting to them: Go to vaccine-only admission," Cuomo said at a news conference. The governor believes it is in the "best business interests" of bars, restaurants, sports stadiums, and music venues to bar unvaccinated people from admission, reasoning that vaccinated customers will be more willing to go out if they think everyone else has taken a vaccine too.
"If you say to people, 'Well, if you don't have a vaccine, you can't get into these establishments,' then you'll see a real incentive to get vaccinated," Cuomo said.
Earlier at the news conference, Cuomo announced that all MTA and Port Authority workers in the state will be required to get vaccinated by Labor Day or be tested for COVID-19 weekly to keep their jobs. The mandate follows an order Cuomo issued last week requiring health care workers at state hospitals to be vaccinated or subject themselves to weekly testing.
"I don't believe a mask policy is going to be enough," Cuomo told reporters. "I think we're going to have to talk about a vaccination policy."
The vaccine mandates come after New York saw an 81% increase in the seven-day average COVID case count, for an average of 2,418 new cases reported last week.
"You should be vaccinated, or don't work in a frontline position," Cuomo said.
Large corporations have already begun to implement vaccine mandates. The Walt Disney Company, Walmart, Facebook, Google, Uber, and others are requiring that at least some employees must be vaccinated in order to report to work.
Walmart last week said vaccines are mandatory for employees in its headquarters and for managers traveling around the United States, but blue-collar employees in stores, clubs, and distribution and fulfillment centers are not yet required to be vaccinated.
Similarly, Disney is requiring salaried and nonunion hourly U.S. employees to get vaccinated, but unionized employees are currently in discussions with the corporate giant about mandatory vaccinations, according to the New York Times.
A recent poll conducted by the COVID States Project found that nearly two-thirds of Americans support requiring everyone to get a COVID-19 vaccine. The poll found that 64% of more than 20,000 U.S. adults from across the nation said that they'd support government vaccine requirements.