New York City will require proof of COVID-19 vaccination for a variety of indoor activities, including restaurants, gyms and entertainment centers, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Tuesday (Aug 3).
That makes NYC the first major U.S. city to announce such a mandate, and follows similar orders announced in France and Italy last month, according to The New York Times. COVID-19 vaccination mandates across the U.S. have mainly been limited to individual businesses, such as Google and Facebook, who are ordering their own employees to be vaccinated before returning to the office.
Broadway's owners announced last week that people going to theaters will need to be vaccinated, according to the New York Times and President Biden announced vaccination mandates for federal workers (who will otherwise be required to undergo mandatory masking, testing and distancing, according to the Associated Press).
As the highly-transmissible delta variant continues to rage across the U.S., many companies and institutions have joined suit. Still, cities have fallen short of issuing sweeping vaccination mandates. Some states, such as Arizona and Arkansas, have even started enacting laws to prohibit mask mandates, according to NPR.
In a news conference on Tuesday, de Blasio said New York City, in a "first-in-the-nation" mandate, will soon bar people who are unvaccinated from many indoor activities across the city, including indoor dining, indoor fitness and indoor entertainment and performances. The new mandate, called the "Key to NYC pass," will launch on Aug. 16 and be enforced (including with inspections of businesses) starting on Sept. 13.
"If you're unvaccinated, unfortunately you will not be able to participate in many things," de Blasio said during the news conference. "It's time for people to see vaccination as literally necessary to living a good and full and healthy life."
New York City has also started an incentive program, offering $100 to anyone who receives their vaccination from a city vaccination site, according to CNBC. Since this incentive started on July 30, around 11,000 people have each earned $100 for receiving a dose, de Blasio said.
This new mandate is "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," de Blasio said. This is what's going to turn the tide and send a really clear message, he said. "If you want to participate in our society fully you've got to get vaccinated."
More than 160 million Americans have gotten safely vaccinated and the only reason we're having the recovery is because of vaccinations, he added. "So it's time. And this is going to send that message clearly."
To show vaccination to businesses, you will need your vaccination card, the NYC COVID-safe app or NY's Excelsior App, de Blasio said.
Around 5 million New Yorkers have gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, de Blasio said.
Originally published on Live Science.
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Yasemin is a staff writer at Live Science, covering health, neuroscience and biology. Her work has appeared in Scientific American, Science and the San Jose Mercury News. She has a bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Connecticut and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz.