The government of New York City has decided that all citizens will now be required to produce official photo identification along with acceptable proof of COVID-19 vaccination to engage in almost all essential functions of ordinary life and commerce. For the foreseeable future, the implication for anyone who cannot produce the correct papers is living an outdoors and delivery-only life.
If this seems like something out of a dystopian novel, it is. The mandate extends to government buildings and services and the vast majority of private enterprises.
Restaurants, bars, movie theaters, music venues, museums, professional sports events, and many more private businesses will be required to act as the city’s enforcement arm in demanding ID and proof of vaccination from all indoor patrons.
In addition to photo ID, public members must be prepared to show a CDC vaccination card or an active state or city mobile app with sufficient evidence of compliance when demanded. The passport mandate went into effect on August 17, and enforcement of the town will begin on September 13, when inspectors will cite non-compliant business owners.
This enforcement will be done through surveillance by police or government agents of ordinary commercial activity. Penalties will start at $1,000 per offense and can reach $5,000 per offense for repeat offenders.
Democrat Mayor Bill de Blasio said that anything less than proving vaccination would not get us where we need to go. Without the required proof, the outcome for the public is pretty straightforward, according to the mayor. If someone doesn’t have the necessary documentation, turn around.
The passport mandate covers every person eligible to receive the vaccine. It means all persons age 12 and up must have documentation. Children under 12 must wear masks inside any covered business. The policy makes no exceptions for persons who have already had COVID or cannot be vaccinated for healthcare or religious purposes.
This week, only about 56 percent of New York City residents are fully vaccinated, and around 38 percent have not received the first shot.
Many small businesses in the city that have somehow survived the pandemic and lockdown restrictions to this point now face the prospect of either driving away customers by enforcing the mandate or receiving stiff fines from undercover agents.