NYC restaurants will be required to limit indoor dining to vaccinated-only customers. The same will be true of theaters and gyms, Mayor de Blasio announced in a press conference on Tuesday morning.
The new approach is called the “Key To NYC Pass,” and is a direct response to the rising caseload of the Delta variant, and updated CDC guidelines. All of the details of the policy will be fully announced on August 16th (with a Health Commissioners’ order and legal mandate). However, vaccine requirements won’t be enforced or inspected until September 13th. New York City is the first in the country to instate such a policy.
Just yesterday, the mayor decided against creating a firm masking policy for all New Yorkers - although he strongly recommends that vaccinated individuals wear a mask indoors. Today’s announcement represents somewhat of a reversal in his hesitancy to implement city-wide mandates.
Join us live at City Hall for a major announcement on how New York City will lead the way in fighting back COVID and driving up vaccinations. https://t.co/MV5jan14NT— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) August 3, 2021
When the new program begins, diners will be able to use the downloaded Excelsior app, a new NYC Covid Safe app, or the card itself to prove their vaccination status. Many restaurants have already announced similar policies.
In addition to protecting restaurant staff and diners, the Mayor says he sees this mandate as yet another incentive for New Yorkers to get vaccinated. Last Friday, the city rolled out a new program that gives New Yorkers a $100 gift card with the first dose of the vaccine. According to the Mayor, 11,000 New Yorkers have claimed their $100 cards so far. “Vaccination has made the difference. This is the whole ballgame, everyone.”