Fri | Sep 24, 2021

NYC will require vaccination proof for indoor dining, gyms

Published:Tuesday | August 3, 2021 | 1:18 PM
A security guard asks customers for proof of vaccination as they enter City Winery, Thursday, June 24, 2021, in New York. New York City will soon require proof of COVID-19 vaccinations for anyone who wants to dine indoors at a restaurant, see a performance or go to the gym, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday, August 3, making it the first big city in the US to impose such restrictions. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City will soon require proof of COVID-19 vaccinations for anyone who wants to dine indoors at a restaurant, see a performance or go to the gym, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday, making it the first big city in the United States to impose such restrictions.

The new requirement, which will be phased in over several weeks in August and September, is the most aggressive step the city has taken yet to curb a surge in cases caused by the delta variant.

People will have to show proof that they have had at least one dose of a vaccine.

“The only way to patronise these establishments indoors will be if you're vaccinated,” de Blasio said.

“The goal here is to convince everyone that this is the time. If we're going to stop the delta variant, the time is now. And that means getting vaccinated right now.”

The Democrat said some details still need to be worked out, including rules affecting children under 12, who are not yet eligible for any of the approved vaccines.

The policy will go into effect on August 16 but inspections and enforcement won't begin until September 13, the week that the city's public schools reopen for the fall.

Vaccination cards will be accepted as proof of inoculation, along with state and city apps.

De Blasio has focused on getting as many New Yorkers vaccinated as possible while resisting calls to mandate masks indoors, as several cities and counties in California have done.

De Blasio said Monday he was making “a strong recommendation” that everyone wears a mask in public indoor settings but stressed that the city's “overwhelming strategic thrust” remained getting more people vaccinated.

Asked Tuesday about a mask mandate, de Blasio said all options were on the table but reiterated that the city's policy is “vaccine-centric.”

“Right now what we want to nail is people getting vaccinated, and, very bluntly, showing that life is much better when you're vaccinated,” he added.

“You can do so much more when you're vaccinated. You have more freedom when you're vaccinated, and you have a lot less, you have fewer choices, fewer opportunities if you're not vaccinated.”

The mayor announced last week that city employees would be required to get vaccinated by mid-September or to face weekly testing, and he has offered a $100 incentive for city residents who get inoculated.

De Blasio said Tuesday that he did not think checking vaccination status should be too difficult for businesses, which already have to take tickets or show diners to a table.

Some restaurateurs disagreed.

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