New York City is the first major city in the U.S. to mandate a vaccine passport policy. Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on August 3 that proof of vaccination against COVID-19 will now be required for most indoor businesses, including restaurants, bars, gyms, and entertainment facilities.
De Blasio calls his new program the “Key To NYC Pass.” He said he wants the mandate’s name to cause people to “imagine the notion” that vaccination allows a person to do things in the city.
The mayor emphasized that the point he’s trying to make on people is that if someone is unvaccinated, they will not participate in many parts of city life. He said that it is time for people to “see vaccination as literally necessary to living a good, full, and healthy life.”
The mandates are slated to go into effect on September 15, and more information will be completed and announced the week of August 16. Persons in the city will be required to provide government documentation of vaccination status to prove their vaccination status.
In addition to a CDC card, the city is expected to accept New York State’s “Excelsior Pass” or the new New York City “Key to NYC” proof. The two “pass” formats require users to download an app to their phone and then upload their vaccination information to a government database through the app.
Black Americans are expected to be disproportionately affected by the vaccine mandate. The city’s health agency has reported that only 31 percent of black city citizens have been fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, 46 percent of whites, 42 percent of Hispanics, and 71 percent of Asians have been vaccinated.
On August 2, de Blasio announced that all persons employed by the city would be required to be vaccinated or face weekly testing. He also announced an incentive program that will pay city residents $100 to get the vaccine.