New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday morning that New York City will mandate vaccination for anyone who wants to participate in indoor activities, including dining at restaurants, going to the gym, and seeing musical or theatrical performances.
"It's time for people to see vaccination as literally necessary to living a good and full and healthy life," de Blasio said at a news conference announcing the vaccine mandate, which also applies to workers at those places.
Mayor Bill de Blasio: "If you want to participate in our society fully, you've got to get vaccinated." https://t.co/UNHC9XInoY— The Hill (@The Hill)1628001308.0
The program is called the "Key to NYC Pass," and a pass showing proof of vaccination against COVID-19 will be required of anyone who wants to participate in an indoor activity. The new requirement will go into effect on Aug. 16 and will begin being enforced on Sept. 13.
"The only way to patronize these establishments indoors will be if you're vaccinated, at least one dose," de Blasio said. "This is crucial because we know that this will encourage a lot more vaccination."
The mandate comes as New York City is seeing a surge of COVID-19 cases mostly caused by the Delta variant, which is more contagious than other variants of the virus. In the face of rising cases, de Blasio previously mandated that all city workers get vaccinated or be regularly tested for COVID-19 to keep their jobs. The mayor also created a $100 incentive for anyone who gets a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Nearly 66% of New York City adults are fully vaccinated, according to city data, but a significant number of people remain hesitant to take their vaccine doses.
Last week, de Blasio said the time for "voluntary" vaccination is over, blaming the unvaccinated and vaccine hesitant for the reintroduction of the coronavirus restrictions.
Speaking Tuesday, the mayor said that forcing people to be vaccinated is the only way to stop COVID-19 cases from rising.
"Not everyone is going to agree with this, I understand that," de Blasio said. "But for so many people this is going to be the life-saving act, that we're putting a mandate in place. It's going to guarantee a much higher level of vaccination in this city and that is the key to protecting people and the key to our recovery."
New Yorkers who wish to dine outdoors will be able to do so without showing proof of vaccination. But to dine indoors, city residents will need to use a new digital app, the New York state Excelsior app, or a paper card to show proof of vaccination.
"We know that this is what's going to turn the tide. And we also know that people are going to get a really clear message: If you want to participate in our society fully, you've got to get vaccinated," the mayor added.