Taking matters out of the hands of private businesses, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio announced today that the city will require proof of vaccination for anyone going into restaurants and gyms or attending performances. The New York Times first reported the news, which, with vaccine mandates for state and city employees, is part of a push in recent days to curb the spread of the Delta variant and get New York over its vaccine hump. Vaccination numbers have stalled since May, and the city missed its goal of fully vaccinating 5 million people by the end of June. As of August 3, there are 4,585,666 fully vaccinated residents.
New York City will start the program on August 16 and begin enforcement on September 13, in time for schools reopening. A new health pass, the “Key to NYC Pass,” will be required for workers and customers for indoor dining, gyms, and performances. People will continue to be able to dine outdoors without showing proof of vaccination. Since New York eased restrictions and reopened this summer, it’s been up to individual restaurants and bars to require proof of vaccination or not. Unsurprisingly, this hasn’t been entirely easy for all the employees actually enforcing this; one bartender described “nasty confrontations” with people whom he had asked about their vaccine status.