No Shot, No Dice: "Key to NYC Pass" to Work or to be Admitted to Many Business Launches Tomorrow

No Shot, No Dice: "Key to NYC Pass" to Work or to be Admitted to Many Business Launches Tomorrow

     New Yorkers who want to eat inside restaurants, exercise inside gyms, and attend venues of indoor entertainment must show proof of vaccination: starting tomorrow in the first such vaccination mandate in the US.

     Mayor Bill de Blasio, who signed an executive order today to launch the “Key to NYC” program, calls the mandate a crucial measure to reduce the spread of the highly contagious Delta strain.

     New Yorkers will be able to show proof of at least one shot with a vaccination card, the NYC app, and the Excelsior Pass, explained the mayor, who added that creating fake vaccination cards is considered falsifying a government document, fraud, and can result in severe penalities, such as up to seven years in prison.

     While the mayor's executive order goes into effect tomorrow, inspections and enforcement with fines that start at $1,000 and can go up to 5,000, not by the NYPD, but by the Department of Health, other city agencies, and the Sheriff's office will not begin until Sept. 13.

    "The first month will be about education and engaging businesses," the mayor said today.

     In particular, the mayor said that he feels that the vaccine mandate will inspire young people, whose vaccination rates are lagging, to get their shots.

     "There are so many amazing things you can do," the mayor said today, "and this is a reason to get vaccinated to participate in them."

     While some business owners are relieved that they will be providing safe environments for all staff and customers, other New York entrepreneurs are worried about the challenges they foresee for both customers who are New Yorkers and who are tourists who received vaccinations outside the US and do not have similar proof to Americans.

      One owner of a New York City burger restaurant told CNBC that he fears a “free-for-all” in which “customers and restaurants are once again not clear on the city’s rules. 

      “It seems like more of the locals are on board and understand it, but the tourists and the out-of-towners say, ‘Oh no, that’s the last time you’re going to see me in the city,’” he told CNBC. “It’s a polarizing issue.”

      New York restauranteurs may be skeptical and anxious, but the mayor said that not only will he be providing small business owners with education and support, the Key to NYC Pass, “is what is [soon] going to be happening all over the country.

     “Make no mistake,” the mayor said on Aug. 5. “What we have put in place related to indoor dining, indoor entertainment, indoor fitness is the shape of things to come.

     “You're going to see more and more companies do the same thing. You're going to see more cities, more counties, more states do the same thing: because it's time.”

      The mayor then thanked President Joe Biden, “who embraced [and encouraged] this idea immediately, literally within hours” after Mayor de Blasio announced the vaccination mandate for New York City, which has already been adopted by San Francisco and New Orleans.

     “This needs to be done all over this country to stop the Delta variant.

     “We can talk about any and all other issues, but the first thing we should always be talking about is stopping this Delta variant before it does more harm.

     “And the way to do that is vaccination. And the way to get more people vaccinated is not just voluntary approaches, which I applaud, the incentives, which we believe in and are working, but [now we have to] require mandates as well.”

     “The Key to NYC Pass: there’s no doubt in my mind it’s going to save lives. It's also going to save this city from slipping backward. We can't let that happen.

     "We are going to keep fighting back."

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