NYC vaccine mandate starts Aug. 16: What you need to know


STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Starting Monday, Aug. 16, you need proof of coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination to enter restaurants, gyms and performance venues, including movie theaters.

Following a nationwide precedent-setting action earlier this month when Mayor Bill de Blasio issued the new vaccine mandates for all employees and patrons of these venues, New Yorkers will now have to show proof they received the coronavirus shot to participate in many indoor social activities in the Big Apple.

De Blasio said the vaccine mandate is necessary to help end the pandemic, especially after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the delta variant is as contagious as the chicken pox.

“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,” de Blasio said. “It’s time for people to see vaccination as literally necessary for living a good and full and healthy life.”

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Patrons and employees at indoor bars, restaurants, movie theaters, performance venues and fitness centers in the five boroughs will need to provide proof of at least one dose of vaccination in order to enter.
  • Vaccines are not required for outdoor dining.
  • While the new vaccine mandate goes into effect Aug. 16, enforcement actions won’t take place until Sept. 13.
  • The new mandates are part of the “Key to NYC Pass” program, which will require display of a vaccine card, or other proof of vaccination, like New York State’s “Excelsior Pass” phone app, which is unavailable to people outside the state.
  • When asked if other types of businesses, like shopping malls, grocery stores or pharmacies would be impacted by the mandates, the mayor said the city’s current focus is on entertainment venues.
  • A number of details — like what sort of penalties non-compliant businesses will face and how the mandates will affect the vaccine ineligible — have yet to be made clear.
  • A uniform vaccine card from the CDC is available to vaccinated U.S. residents.
  • Details for dining out regarding children under 12, who are not yet eligible for vaccination, have not yet been worked out, said de Blasio. Health Commissioner Dr. Dave A. Chokshi said that “there will be reasonable accommodations made for children.”
  • Regarding the legality of the local orders, de Blasio said the city had consulted with the federal Department of Justice before making the decision, given that the vaccine is still under Emergency Use Authorization in the United States, and not fully approved.




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