The Key To New York City

August 4, 2021

Unlock The Big Apple?

Proof of vaccination may get you a pass to a "miraculous place literally full of wonders," or so says New York City's mayor as he announces a first-of-its-kind pandemic policy in America's largest city.
Why Now & Why It Matters

“Key to NYC Pass.”

  • What: A new policy requiring proof of vaccination (1 dose of a COVID-19 vaccine) for entry into a restaurant, gym, or performance venue.
  • Who: Mostly applies to adults, from the latest information – but exact ages TBD.
  • When: The policy will begin August 16 and become enforceable the week of September 13.
  • Why: The rise of the delta variant and a desire to increase vaccination rates.

Lingering Questions: How?

  • We don’t know because we don’t have the precise language for the specifics of the policy, but executive action from mayor’s office and health department expected soon.
  • How does it work for NYC residents and others? TBD. An app currently used by the state of New York can validate proof of vaccination/testing; Mayor de Blasio also mentioned physical vaccination cards.
  • How will exemptions apply?
  • Who enforces it?
  • What’s the punishment for non-compliance?
“I really am optimistic that this will be just the nudge that folks who are on the fence will need to finally do the right thing to protect themselves, their families, their communities and get the vaccine.”

New York City Council Health Committee Chair, Mark Levine. He has been pushing for vaccination screening and sees it as a “critical measure to slow the rapid spread of Delta” in NYC.

“These new mandates are a burden that will be placed on hospitality staff that is already stretched thin, and this will only get worse … Government is still making things harder on our industry. We can’t take it much longer.”

Melissa Fleischut, pres. of the New York State Restaurant Association, believes the policy will further harm the hospitality industry in the wake of labor shortages and dropping revenue. Meanwhile, some restaurant owners have already put a vaccination requirement in place for indoor dining.

“I believe this is the spark that will get a lot of people very angry about the city’s response … This is going to create two separate classes of people.”

City Councilman Joseph Borelli from Staten Island says the new policies will harm small businesses and discriminate against African-American and Hispanic communities with lower vaccination rates.

While Mayor de Blasio announced this policy, he did *not* reinstate indoor mask mandates as other cities did recently (such as San Francisco).

Interesting note – while vaccine requirements can be set by local governments, the policies most often apply to FDA-approved vaccines, not those under emergency use authorization. Whether that’s a factor for any challenges to this current policy is TBD.

The press briefing announcing the Key to New York City Pass

Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group to require indoor diners show proof of Covid shots

by Jenna Lee,