New York City will require proof of vaccination for leisure indoor activities at restaurants, gyms and performances — becoming the first major city in the United States to do so.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, in making the announcement Tuesday morning at a news conference, said the program, known as the "Key to NYC Pass," will begin in mid-August during a transition period before it will be fully enforced beginning the week of Sept. 13.
"It is time for people to see vaccinations as literally necessary to living a good, full and healthy life," he said. "If you're unvaccinated, unfortunately, you will not be able to participate in many things."
While the mayor said he recognized that "not everyone's going to agree with this," he said the proof of vaccination will be "lifesaving."
The mandate is the latest attempt by de Blasio to encourage more people to get vaccinated against Covid-19. Last week, he required city workers to get vaccinated or face weekly testing and offered $100 incentive for New Yorkers.
About 70 percent of all adults in New York City have received at least one vaccine dose and 66 percent are fully vaccinated, according to city data.
De Blasio said the city would issue a health commissioner's order and a mayoral executive order for the mandate. The transition period beginning Aug. 16, according to the mayor, will mostly be spent reaching out to businesses and getting feedback about the new program.
The mayor said the requirement is meant to send a clear message: “If you want to participate in our society fully, you’ve got to get vaccinated. It’s time.”
New Yorkers will need to provide a vaccination paper card, use the city's Covid-19 safe app or the state's Excelsior app.