Following Broadway’s lead, New York City will require proof of Covid vaccination for all indoor activities, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today. In addition to restaurants and gyms, the new mandate covers indoor entertainment and performances.
A phased adoption of the policy begins Aug. 16, followed by what de Blasio said during a press conference today would be a “month of educating people,” with enforcement of the policy beginning Sept. 13.
De Blasio said specific details of the policy will be unveiled during the week of Aug. 16.
“This is crucial because we know this will encourage a lot more vaccinations,” de Blasio said, adding “The goal here is to convince everyone that this is the time to stop the Delta variant.”
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Said de Blasio, the policy will “require vaccination for workers and customers in indoor dining, in indoor fitness facilities, indoor entertainment facilities…If you want to participate in society fully, you’ve got to get vaccinated.”
To implement the mandate, New York City will create a health pass called the Key to NYC Pass, similar to New York State’s Excelsior pass.
Last week, the Broadway League announced all 41 Broadway theaters will require vaccinations for audience members, as well as performers, backstage crew, and theatre staff, for all performances through October 2021. Masks will also be required for audiences inside the theaters, except while eating or drinking in designated locations.
While Broadway included an audience mask mandate along with the vaccine proof, de Blasio has so far merely encouraged mask-wearing. He did not include mandatory masking in today’s announcement.
Though the League announcement did not extend to Off Broadway productions, producers for at least one Off Broadway production – Douglas Carter Beane’s Fairycakes starring Mo Rocca, Jackie Hoffman and Julie Halston – announced that they would follow Broadway’s example and require proof of vaccination for audience members when the play begins performances on Oct. 14.
De Blasio’s plan is modeled on similar mandates in France but is thought to be the first in the United States. To gain entry into indoor venues, visitors will be required to use either the city’s new NYC Pass digital app, the state’s Excelsior or the paper proof of vaccination card.
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