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CEO DATELINE – New York City to require proof of vaccination for indoor dining, events

Aug. 4, 2021
By Walt Williams

New York City will require people to show proof of vaccination before entering restaurants, fitness centers and entertainment venues, although details about how the program will work were murky as of Wednesday.

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NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday the “Key to NYC Pass” policy, which will prevent unvaccinated people from taking part in many leisure and entertainment options in the city, both as customers and workers. The policy takes effect on a voluntary basis Aug. 16 but won’t be enforced by the city until Sept. 13.

“This is a miraculous place literally full of wonders. And, if you’re vaccinated, all that's going to open up to you,” de Blasio said during a press conference announcing the policy. “You’ll have the key. You can open the door. But, if you’re unvaccinated, unfortunately, you will not be able to participate in many things. That’s the point we’re trying to get across.”

Several associations hold trade shows and other events at NYC’s Javits Center, which opened a 1.2 million-square-foot expansion in May. The International Franchise Show, which is sponsored by the International Franchise Association, is scheduled to take place Sept. 24-25. The Specialty Food Association is planning to hold its Fancy Food Show at the convention center Sept. 27-29. Further out, the National Retail Federation and The Toy Association plan to hold events at the center in early 2022.

Associations have generally been reluctant to require proof of vaccination as a requirement for attending their events. It is unclear how the Key to NYC Pass would apply to association events in the city, with de Blasio providing few specifics. Vaccination cards could be used as proof of vaccination, he said. He also pointed to the recently launched NYC COVID Safe app, which stores a user’s vaccination status. New York State also provides an Excelsior app that can be used to show proof of vaccination, but it only works if people have been vaccinated in the state.

Final details of the policy will be announced when it takes effect in August, de Blasio said.