NYC to require proof of vaccination for indoor dining, entertainment, fitness

New York City will require proof of vaccination for people who want to dine indoors and take part in other activities like gyms and theaters and for those who work there. It is the city's most aggressive step yet in tackling the highly contagious delta variant.

Mayor Bill de Blasio made the announcement on Tuesday morning. The policy and final details are expected to begin on Aug. 16. Enforcement will begin on Sept. 13.

"If you want to participate in our society fully, you've got to get vaccinated," the mayor said.

It means dining at restaurants, working out at the gym, seeing a movie or live performance will all require proof. That goes for both workers and patrons.

"The only way to patronize these establishments is with vaccination — at least one dose," de Blasio said. "The same for workers — one dose."

The rules won’t be enforced until Sept. 13 to give small businesses like Uva, and its partner restaurant, Uva Next Door, time to adjust. For owner Massimo Lusardi, it takes a somewhat controversial issue off the table and guarantees the health and safety of everyone inside.

"I'm curious to see what the city's going to recommend for enforcement," he said. "I would presume that it's going to be someone at the door checking proof of status the same way you would ID to get into a bar or a nightclub."

"We want businesses big and small to get acclimated," de Blasio said.

Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, R-N.Y., called the mayor's move "unacceptable overreach."

The New York City Hospitality Alliance said this policy makes more sense than another shutdown.

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"There's no doubt that this mandate is going to pose significant challenges for local restaurants, bars and workers," Executive Director Andrew Rigie said. "But we also recognize that we cannot go back down to reduced occupancy and shutdown orders, which could likely happen if we do nothing now."

New Yorkers can provide proof of vaccination by pulling up the NYC Covid Safe app, New York's Excelsior Pass, or by showing their vaccine cards.

New York City is the first city in the United States to require proof of vaccination for indoor dining and other activities.

The policy is similar to one in France that requires a special COVID-19 vaccination pass for anyone who wants to go to a restaurant, shopping mall, or several other public places.

On Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo had encouraged businesses across New York to only allow vaccinated-only admission.

"Private businesses, bars, restaurants — go to a vaccine-only admission. I believe it's in your best business interest," Cuomo said. "If I go to a bar and I want to have a drink and I want to talk to the person next to me, I want to know that that person is vaccinated. If I go to a restaurant and I'm sitting at a table and the table right next to me, I want to know that they're vaccinated."