Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday morning that New York City will require proof of vaccination for people participating in indoor activities, including at restaurants, gyms and performances, his latest attempt to spur more vaccinations. The mandate also applies to workers at those places.
The policy is similar to mandates issued in France and Italy last month and is believed to be the first of its kind in the United States.
The program will start later this month, and after a transition period enforcement will begin in mid-September, when schools are expected to reopen and more workers could return to offices in Manhattan.
Mr. de Blasio has been moving aggressively to get more New Yorkers vaccinated to curtail a third wave of coronavirus cases. He is requiring city workers to get vaccinated or to face weekly testing, and he has offered a $100 incentive for the public.
About 66 percent of adults in the city are fully vaccinated, according to city data, although pockets of the city have lower rates.
Mr. de Blasio has been reluctant to reinstate an indoor mask mandate like those in some other large urban areas, including Los Angeles County, San Francisco and Washington. He encouraged New Yorkers to wear masks indoors on Monday and received criticism for not requiring them.
As part of the new program, New York City will create a health pass called the “Key to NYC Pass” to provide proof of vaccination required for workers and customers at indoor dining, gyms, entertainment and performances.
In France, people will soon have to show a health pass — providing proof of vaccination or a recent negative test — to visit indoor bars, restaurants and gyms. It has already been implemented at amusement parks, theaters and venues hosting more than 50 people. In New York City, proof of vaccination will be required and there will be no testing option.
The restrictions in France prompted millions of people to book vaccine appointments and also sparked a series of protests among people who said it infringed on their personal liberties.
Mr. de Blasio has said that he wants to encourage New Yorkers to get vaccinated if they want to enjoy city life.
“We think it is so important to make clear that if you are vaccinated, you get to benefit in all sorts of ways,” Mr. de Blasio said on Monday in an interview on NY1. “You get to live a better life. Besides your health in general, you get to participate in many, many things. And if you’re unvaccinated, there are going to be fewer and fewer things that you’re able to do.”
New Yorkers will be able to continue to dine outdoors without showing proof of vaccination. To enter indoor venues, they must use the city’s new digital app, the state’s Excelsior app or a paper card to show proof of vaccination.