New York restaurants, gyms to ask for COVID-19 vaccination proof
New York City in the United States will soon start restricting people who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 from dining at restaurants, going to gyms, etc. The move comes as the city is planning to impose stricter restrictions to tackle the Delta variant (first detected in India). Mayor Bill de Blasio said NYC is the first major US city to impose such restrictions.
The requirement for vaccination proof will come into effect on August 16, however, enforcement will not commence until September 13. Once it comes into force, people will be required to show that they have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose before entering any establishment. The government is working on rules for children under 12, who are not allowed to be vaccinated yet.
"If we're going to stop the Delta variant, the time is now," de Blasio said. "Right now what we want to nail is people getting vaccinated, and, very bluntly, showing that life is much better when you're vaccinated," he added. "You have more freedom when you're vaccinated, and you have a lot less, you have fewer choices, fewer opportunities if you're not vaccinated."
The administration's focus has been on increased vaccinations while avoiding stricter mask mandates. On Monday, de Blasio said he was making "a strong recommendation" that everyone continue wearing masks in public indoor settings. However, he added that the administration's focus remains vaccine-centric.
Already, major performance venues such as Broadway theaters and the Metropolitan Opera have restricted entry to vaccinated patrons. President Joe Biden said on Tuesday that other cities should also follow in NYC's footsteps. De Blasio had said last week that the city's employees would have to be vaccinated by mid-September or face weekly testing. The city is offering $100 incentives to those vaccinated.
The move has received mixed reactions so far. While some businesses feel this will only make their jobs harder and limit the number of patrons they cater to, others welcomed the restriction. However, worries about whether smaller businesses would be able to sustain themselves through the restriction remain. Some individuals feel vaccination is a "personal choice" and those unvaccinated should not be turned away.
In NYC, nearly 66% of all adults have been vaccinated fully. Meanwhile, on Monday, the US accomplished the goal of administering at least one vaccine dose to 70% of all American adults. The goal was notably achieved a month past its original deadline.