'Key to NYC': Indoor vaccine mandate begins on Tuesday

Proof of vaccination will be needed for entertainment venues, gyms, and indoor dining in NYC

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Tuesday, August 17, 2021
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Jim Dolan reports New York City's indoor vaccine mandate officially begins Tuesday as part of Mayor Bill de Blasio's "Key to NYC" plan.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Entertainment venues, gyms, and indoor dining in New York City will soon be off-limits for anyone who is unvaccinated.

New York City's indoor vaccine mandate begins Tuesday as part of Mayor Bill de Blasio's "Key to NYC" plan.

The citywide mandate is the first-in-the-nation vaccine requirement for employees and customers for indoor venues.

Mayor de Blasio said his executive order begins Tuesday, August 17 with enforcement going into effect on Monday, September 13.

RELATED | Senator Schumer calls for federal crackdown on fake COVID vaccine cards

There will be $1,000 fines for failure to comply with the vaccine mandate, starting September 13. Fines will increase for repeat offenses.

"We made a decision a few weeks ago, the whole ball game is vaccination and once you make that kind of profound strategic decision you throw everything you got at it," the mayor said, "We're not interested in half measures, we're interested in vaccination."

"A fake vaccination card constitutes fraud and will be prosecuted as fraud by that individual," said Dr. David Chokshi, NYC Health Commissioner. "We will have recourse for people to report if they are encountering fake vaccination cards, both at the city level through 311 as well as through the state attorney general's office."

At Hold Fast Kitchen & Spirits, they'll ask for proof of vaccination along with a photo ID to make sure you are who you say you are.

The owner says it's about safety for all -- adding that they've survived winter with outdoor dining only, so this is just one more rule they will overcome.

"We already pushed through December. We have the heaters outside. We have the ability to adjust," said Shane Hathaway of Hold Fast Kitchen & Spirits. "We'll do what we have to do to create a comfortable environment for all our customers."

More than 50 businesses in New York City are already requiring proof of vaccination for entry before the mandate began.

Twenty additional businesses were announced Thursday, after the city revealed 30 on Wednesday, with the mayor praising these early adopters and calling them public health heroes.

"Their leadership and fast action sends a powerful message: New Yorkers will do everything in our power to keep each other safe and defeat COVID-19," he said. "Mass vaccination is the only way to stop the spread, and these businesses are giving New Yorkers more reasons than ever to protect themselves and their communities. I'm proud to stand with them."

The program requires that people provide proof of vaccination at indoor dining, entertainment, and fitness facilities across the five boroughs starting August 16.

But not everyone is thrilled about the new mandates. Protesters gathered outside of Gracie Mansion on Sunday afternoon.

Among the people taking part in the protest was Republican Mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa, and Andrew Giuliani, who is running for New York governor.

More than half of all New Yorkers are fully vaccinated.

RELATED | NYC announces proof of vaccine requirement for indoor events

The three acceptable forms of proof are a CDC-issued vaccine card, the New York State Excelsior Pass, and the NYC COVID Safe app.

The city has embarked on a listening tour to gather feedback across industries and incorporate businesses' needs into the final guidance and will also launch a multi-language ad campaign for consumers and business owners to spread awareness about the program.

RELATED | NY launches Excelsior Pass Plus to expand proof of COVID-19 vaccination program

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