NYC mayor Bill de Blasio says new vaccine mandate will be called “Key to New York Pass”

New York City will become the first big US city to require proof of vaccination before entering certain indoor businesses, following an announcement by Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday. This will include restaurants, performances and gyms — and will be phased in during several weeks in August and September.

De Blasio has dubbed this new vaccination mandate, whereby people will have to show proof of at least one vaccine shot, the “Key to New York Pass”, launching on August 16. The Mayor has argued that this is the only thing that will enable New Yorkers to return to some form of normalcy following the Delta variant of COVID-19 causing cases to surge in the city. (AP News).

Officials have said that the program is modeled after vaccine passport proposals seen in France and other parts of Europe. The “Key to New York Pass” will be available to anyone with a smartphone using the city’s app “Excelsior Pass”, or for those who still prefer a paper format, the CDC vaccine card will also be accepted. (New York Post).

These new enforcements represent the latest in de Blasio’s attempts to combat the surges in coronavirus in NYC. In recent weeks, the Mayor has offered $100 financial incentives to people in order to get vaccinated. More crucially, “city workers won’t have a choice, and will be mandated to get vaccinated” (Forbes).

This focus on vaccination represents a contrast in fighting COVID-19 when compared to other states’ efforts which have focused primarily on mask mandates indoors, such as several counties and cities in California. Rather than concentrate on dictating where people must wear a form of face covering, de Blasio has instead focused his efforts on making sure as many people as possible throughout NYC get their jabs.

De Blasio also stressed on Monday a “strong recommendation” that everybody wear a mask in public settings. This also represents a shift from this time last year when political leaders were ordering businesses to close and Americans to stay at home (Reuters). De Blasio has suggested that his policy follows the advice of the CDC — whereby masks are recommended even for double-vaccinated people. The latest data suggests that even though the vaccines are not 100% effective, only 0.004% of fully vaccinated people have been hospitalized due to COVID-19 (CNN).

However, the vaccine mandate has not proved popular across all sides of the political spectrum. Conservative speaker Charlie Kirk, the founder of nonprofit group Turning Point USA, has repeatedly spoken out against forced vaccinations, instead arguing that while the vaccine makes logical sense, Americans should have the freedom to choose. Similarly, former President Donald Trump recently commented that he would only “recommend” that people take the vaccine (Seattle Times).



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