Just weeks out from New York City’s Clive Davis-organized comeback concert series, Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for indoor establishments including restaurants, clubs, and entertainment venues.
The Big Apple’s outgoing mayor detailed the vaccination requirement – one component of “a smart mix of incentives and mandates” – in a press conference today. After reiterating that some five million of New York City’s 8.4 million or so residents (the latter figure includes children) have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with north of 10 million doses administered to date, the mayor highlighted the vaccine-passport measures that have already been implemented by the government as well as the private sector.
“Today I announce a new approach, which we are calling the Key to NYC Pass,” he proceeded. “The key to New York City. When you hear those words, I want you to imagine the notion that because someone’s vaccinated, they can do all the amazing things that are available in this city.
“This is a miraculous place, literally full of wonders, and if you’re vaccinated, all that’s gonna open up to you. You’ll have the key, you can open the door. But if you’re unvaccinated, unfortunately you will not be able to participate in many things. That’s the point we’re trying to get across. It’s time for people to see vaccination as literally necessary to living a good and full and healthy life.
“The Key to NYC Pass will be a first-in-the-nation approach. It will require vaccination for workers and customers in indoor dining, in indoor fitness facilities, [and] indoor entertainment facilities.
“This is going to be a requirement. The only way to patronize these establishments indoors will be if you’re vaccinated – at least one dose. The same for folks in terms of work,” the mayor said of the program, which is scheduled to launch on Monday, August 16th (when the first Homecoming concert will take place) and be “enforced” on Monday, September 13th.
Predictably, the Key to NYC program is proving controversial on social media, and it remains to be seen how the measure will impact New York City’s live-entertainment sector, which previously grappled with a similarly controversial ticketed-event ban.
Others yet are questioning how government officials will enforce the associated rules, and the mayor specified on this front that the plan’s “final details” are set to be announced and implemented on the week of the aforementioned August 16th launch date, with “inspections and enforcement” beginning on September 13th.
And while the vaccine requirement doesn’t yet extend to outdoor entertainment, upon announcing the initially noted Homecoming concert series, organizers specified that they would seat attendees based upon their vaccination status. Now, however, the proposed unvaccinated section has been eliminated, the mayor made clear.
“Our Homecoming concerts are gonna be amazing, but if you want to go to one of them, you have to be vaccinated. That’s a requirement,” he said.