NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — People will soon have to show proof of vaccination for indoor dining, fitness and entertainment in New York City.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the “Key to NYC Pass” on Tuesday.READ MORE: City Was Warned About Thousands of Corroding Light Poles But Failed to Fix Many, CBS 2 Investigation Finds
“When you hear those words, I want you to imagine the notion that because someone is vaccinated, they can do all the amazing things that are available in New York City,” he said. “If you’re unvaccinated, unfortunately, you will not be able to participate in many things.”
The mandate is similar to ones issued last month in France and Italy, but first-of-its kind in the U.S.
The mayor said it will apply to both workers and customers in those indoor spaces. It be phased in beginning August 16, with full enforcement by September 13.
“It’s time for people to see vaccinations as literately necessary to living a good and full and healthy life,” de Blasio added.
BREAKING: NYC to require screening for vaccination for entry to bars, nightclubs, restaurants, gyms etc. Will take effect in Sept.
This is a critical measure to slow the rapid spread of Delta here, and to incentivize vaccination.https://t.co/QIWoRu2gGj
— Mark D. Levine (@MarkLevineNYC) August 3, 2021
New York City Council Health Committee Chair Mark Levine had been pushing for the order.
“We’ve learned over the past year and a half that our choice is to act now or face more difficult options,” he said during the mayor’s press conference. “I really am optimistic that this will be just the nudge that folks who are on the fence will need to finally do the right thing to protect themselves, their families, their communities and get the vaccine.”
Several businesses have already started requiring vaccinations for employees and customers, including Equinox and Soul Cycle.
The New York City Hospitality Alliance said the policy “is a very difficult step, but ultimately may prove an essential move.”
“Mandating vaccine requirements for restaurant and bar employees and customers to work and dine indoors is a very difficult step, but ultimately may prove an essential move to protecting public health and ensuring that New York City does not revert to restrictions and shut down orders that would again absolutely devastate small businesses that have not yet recovered from the pandemic,” Executive Director Andrew Rigie wrote.
“We know that a mandated vaccine requirement will pose economic and operational challenges to restaurants, particularly in communities with lower vaccination rates and hesitancy, however it will also alleviate the burden that restaurants and bars face when implementing this policy voluntarily.
“While having to require this requirement is far from ideal, now we need government to support restaurants, bars and workers with clear and fair guidelines, and an extensive outreach and education program, while also implementing more policies to support the industry’s recovery.”
New York City is also requiring all municipal workers to be vaccinated by the start of school on Sept. 13 or face weekly testing, and all new employees must provide proof of vaccination.READ MORE: Neighbors Alarmed After Rash Of Robberies In Lakeview; Police Patrols Increased Along Southport Avenue
The city has stopped short of enacting a mask mandate, but the mayor and health commissioner say they “strongly recommend” everyone wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status.
Health experts say the Delta variant is driving soaring case numbers. The latest indicators show new cases accelerating citywide, at 1,200 a day and doubling in the past 10 days.
“My husband’s family, they died. People died from COVID,” Carmen Fuarez told CBS2’s John Dias.
The newest high-profile case is New York Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole, who tested positive Monday and will missing Tuesday’s game.
“They might not do so well without their ace pitcher,” Bronx resident Mike Kern said.
While Cole’s vaccination status is unknown, the Bronx community that Yankee Stadium calls home — zip code 10451 — is below the city’s average of 55.82% at 49.35% fully vaccinated.
Free Yankee tickets in exchange for the vaccine didn’t seem to entice many Tuesday, but one man said his fear of the Delta variant led him to get the shot.
“There’s a lot of stuff going on across the country, and I don’t want to get sick,” said the man named Frank.
He said he already had COVID earlier in the year.
“When I had it, I felt so sick I thought was going to die, and people are dying,” he said.MORE NEWS: Man Shot, Critically Wounded On Huron Street In River North Near Mag Mile
New Yorkers can still dine outdoors without proof of vaccination.