New York City to Require Proof of Vaccination for Indoor Dining and Gyms

New York City to Require Proof of Vaccination for Indoor Dining and Gyms
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New York City to Require Proof of Vaccination for Indoor Dining and Gyms

New York City to Require Proof of Vaccination for Indoor Dining and Gyms

New York City will become the first U.S. city to require proof of vaccination for a variety of activities for workers and customers – indoor restaurants, gyms and movie theaters – in a move meant to pressure people into themselves. get vaccinated, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Tuesday.

The restrictions, similar to warrants issued in France and Italy last month, represent the most aggressive response to delayed vaccination rates in the United States, and they come as the number of cases of the virus increases across the country. Mr de Blasio said he hoped other cities would implement similar measures.

“It is a miraculous place literally full of wonders,” said de Blasio. “If you are vaccinated, this will all open up to you. But if you are not vaccinated, unfortunately you will not be able to participate in a lot of things.

The vaccine requirement marks a new chapter in the fight against the coronavirus in a city that was once the epicenter of the pandemic and where more than 33,000 people have died from the virus. With the spread of the more contagious Delta variant, the average number of daily cases has risen to more than 1,300, about six times the number in June.

Vaccine mandates are accelerating across the country as municipalities and private companies embrace them. On Tuesday, Tyson Foods told its 120,000 employees in offices, slaughterhouses and poultry factories across the country that they should be vaccinated by Nov. 1 as a “condition of employment.” And Microsoft, which employs around 100,000 people in the United States, said it would require proof of vaccination for all employees, vendors and guests to access its offices.

President Biden said on Tuesday he believes other cities should follow New York City’s lead in requiring proof of vaccination for restaurants and gyms.

“You must prove that you have been vaccinated or you cannot enter”, Mr Biden told reporters.

Mr de Blasio’s announcement came a day after he refused to set an indoor mask mandate even as more cities and at least one state did. Instead, he prioritized vaccination, forcing city workers to get vaccinated or routine testing, and urging the public to vaccinate with a $ 100 cash offer. Mr de Blasio hopes limiting many of the city’s most popular social activities to just those who have been vaccinated can provide an even greater incentive.

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City officials said inspectors from the health department and other agencies would enforce the new rules and restaurants could face fines. The logistics of monitoring the city’s 25,000 restaurants and bars could be difficult – and controversial.

Joseph Borelli, a Staten Island city councilor, said the rules would crush small businesses and he was considering filing a complaint. He said a vaccination warrant would prevent many black and Latino residents from eating in restaurants, as vaccination rates are lower in those communities.

“I believe this is the spark that is going to make a lot of people very angry with the city’s response,” he said. “This will create two distinct categories of people. “

The measures in France have prompted millions of people to make appointments for vaccines and have also sparked a series of huge protests. In New York City, Broadway recently established its own requirement that spectators be vaccinated and wear masks to attend performances.

Mr de Blasio, a Democrat in his last year in office, said he had consulted with officials in the Biden administration about the tenure and believed he would hold up in court. Rules will begin August 16, and enforcement will begin in mid-September, when schools are expected to reopen and more workers may return to offices in Manhattan.

Business groups in New York have said the mandate will be another hurdle for the hospitality industry, which has been particularly hard hit during the pandemic.

“These new mandates are a burden that will weigh on the already overworked hotel staff, and it will only get worse,” said Melissa Fleischut, president of the New York State Restaurant Association. “The government always makes it harder for our industry. We can’t hold it any longer.

But Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, said the new restrictions “could prove to be a critical step to protect public health and ensure New York City does not revert to restrictions and closure orders.” .

The rules are effectively the first government-imposed vaccine requirement for private workers in New York City. Last week, Mr de Blasio issued a warrant demanding that all 300,000 employees in the city be vaccinated or undergo weekly tests for the virus.

Some restaurant workers applauded the new tenure.

Camila Rinaldi, a former cook at Marta in Manhattan who will become sous chef at Great Jones Distillery in September, was relieved and wished it had been done sooner.

“It’s about public health,” she said, “so if you have the right not to have the vaccine, and I have the right to have the vaccine, I also have the right to not wanting to be with you because I take care of myself and take care of the whole community.

Nicole Ponseca, owner of Jeepney in Manhattan’s East Village, felt caught between worrying about the health of her staff and violating human rights.

“I want to do the right thing and say we need to be relaxed,” she said. “I’m also sensitive to people’s personal choices and what they want to do with their bodies.

About two-thirds of adults in the city are fully immunized, according to city data, although pockets in the city have lower rates.

Mr de Blasio’s new initiative, called the Key to NYC Pass, will require people to show proof of vaccination using the city’s new digital app, the state’s Excelsior app or a paper card.

“Not everyone will agree with this – I understand that,” said de Blasio. “But for so many people, this is going to be a saving act. We are putting in place a mandate that will guarantee a much higher level of vaccination in this city. And that’s the key to protecting people, and the key to our recovery. “

U.S. Representative Adriano Espaillat and James Sanders Jr., a state senator, were among black and Latino leaders who welcomed the new measures. Mr Sanders represents Southeast Queens, a part of the city that experienced one of the highest Covid-19 death rates in the virus’s first wave, and which now has one of the highest proportions of unvaccinated people in the city.

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“You have the right to your body, of course, but you don’t have the right to kill other people,” Mr Sanders said at the mayor’s briefing. “We have to take a firm stance. “

New Yorkers can continue to eat out without showing proof of vaccination. Mr de Blasio said city officials were discussing details such as whether children under 12, who cannot yet be vaccinated, can dine indoors at restaurants or visit a movie theater.

The new mandate will certainly spark debate among residents of a city where millions of people still go unvaccinated.

Josh Richardson, 30, a Brooklyn building maintenance worker who was not vaccinated, said he was against the new rule.

“You are forcing people to get something they don’t want,” said Richardson. “It’s not fair to people.”

Rachel Wyatt, 58, a public high school teacher who lives in Brooklyn, said she supports the idea.

“As a person who has been vaccinated, it has been so disheartening” to see the pandemic continue due to the high number of unvaccinated people, she said.

Health experts have welcomed the new restrictions while pushing Mr de Blasio to move faster on warrants and masking requirements. Dr Wafaa El-Sadr, professor of epidemiology at Columbia University, said it was good policy and should start immediately.

“There are ways to show that you are vaccinated, so why wait at this point? ” she said.

Gabriel Stulman implemented a vaccine requirement at his West Village restaurants in June – with virtually no denials from customers.

“The reality is that it hasn’t ruffled a lot of feathers,” he said.

Mr Stulman said most of his clients believe in the vaccine.

“For everyone who is not vaccinated, I still have a place for you, you can still eat here,” he said. “Outside.”

Reporting was provided by Julie Creswell, Priya Krishna, Sharon Otterman, Joseph Goldstein, Marc Santora, Nate Schweber and Aurelien Breeden.

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