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New York City will require proof of vaccination to enter all restaurants, fitness centers and indoor entertainment venues, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday.
De Blasio said the Key to NYC Pass is the first vaccine requirement for workers and customers in the nation and launches Aug. 16 with enforcement beginning Sept. 13.
“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,” de Blasio said of the Key to NYC Pass.
He continued: “If you’re unvaccinated, unfortunately, you will not be able to participate in many things … If you want to participate in our society fully, you’ve got to get vaccinated.”
De Blasio added that the city would begin inspecting businesses for compliance in mid-September. CNBC reports that affected customers and workers can either provide their vaccination cards or upload their proof of vaccination to the Excelsior Pass application.
“It’s time for people to see vaccines as literally necessary to living a good and full and healthy life,” de Blasio said.
De Blasio said the mandate encourages increased immunizations to combat the spread of the delta coronavirus variant, and CNBC reports the mayor’s order comes just a day after he mandated vaccinations for all of the city’s new hires.
The National Restaurant Association issued a statement regarding the city’s initiative just after de Blasio’s press conference, which expressed support for increased vaccinations but said the mandate would be burdensome to enforce and result in “significant changes” for restaurants moving forward, CNBC reports.
“Checking vaccination status isn’t like ID-ing a customer before serving them a drink—staff receive training on how to do that,” Larry Lynch, the group’s senior vice president of science and industry, said in the statement. “Now, without training, our staff members are expected to check the vaccine status of every customer wanting to eat inside the establishment.”
The New York City Hospitality Alliance also commented on the mandate in a statement released Tuesday. The alliance acknowledged that the new measure would be a “difficult step and controversial,” but added that it could help forestall “new occupancy restrictions and shut down orders that will again devastate small businesses and workers who have not yet recovered from the pandemic,” per CNBC.