On Tuesday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that proof of vaccination will be required in order “to enter all restaurants, fitness centers, and indoor entertainment venues” CNN reports. This policy will become enforceable in mid-September, and has been nicknamed the “Key to NYC Pass”. As Mayor de Blasio said, “The Key to New York City. When you hear those words, I want you to imagine the notion that because someone’s vaccinated they can do all the amazing things that are available in this city,” according to NPR.
This citywide vaccine mandate comes after private industries’ vaccine mandates have been sweeping the country— as companies like Tyson Foods and Microsoft are instituting these requirements to enter the office— and as the highly contagious Delta variant continues to spread.
With this move, New York City becomes the first city in the country to do so, and also serves to increase the pressure to vaccinate. Mayor de Blasio hopes that other cities will follow suit as vaccination rates continue to stagnate in the U.S. “President Biden said on Tuesday that he believed other cities should follow New York City’s lead in requiring proof of vaccination for restaurants and gyms,” the New York Times reports.
As the coronavirus pandemic endures, the debate on the best path to move forward continues as well. Whether this will become a trend that other cities follow remains to be seen. As the NY Post reports, “Acting Mayor Kim Janey — the first woman and Black Bostonian to hold the office — said ‘there’s a long history” in the United States of people “needing to show their papers’ when asked” about New York City’s policy.
The National Restaurant Association also voiced some opposition as Larry Lynch, the senior vice president, cited substantial changes in restaurant operations as well as fears of backlash against employees, similar to those faced when the mask mandates were put in place.
Meanwhile, a former restaurant Manhattan restaurant worker is elated. “This is about public health…so if you are entitled to not have the vaccine, and I am entitled to have the vaccine, I am also entitled to not want to be around you because I am taking care of myself and taking care of the whole community.”