New York on Tuesday became the first major city in the United States to announce that it will require proof of Covid-19 vaccination not only for all city employees, but also for all members of the public who wish to dine at the indoors in a restaurant, see an indoor performance or go to the gym.
City mayor Bill de Blasio noted that the city’s existing policies, including a vaccination mandate for municipal workers and incentive payments of $ 100, have already contributed to an increase in vaccinations, but it was time to go further.
“If you want to participate fully in our society, you have to get vaccinated,” de Blasio said at a press conference on Tuesday morning. “So it’s about time, and it’s going to send that message clearly. “
About 5 million New Yorkers have received at least one dose of the vaccine and about 66% of adults in the city are fully immunized, official data shows.
Tourism is back in the city and the announcement will have serious implications for visitors.
On Monday, the United States nationally met Joe Biden’s goal of getting at least one shot of Covid-19 on 70% of American adults – a month later and in the midst of a wave of the Delta variant that overwhelms some hospitals and prompts renewal of pandemic regulations in many parts of the country.
But significant parts of some states have vaccination rates below 30%, mostly Republican-majority states and counties, including parts of Louisiana, northern Arkansas and southern Missouri, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Texas and South Carolina.
More than 50,000 people were hospitalized with Covid across the United States on Monday, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the first time that number has been exceeded since late February.
That’s significantly fewer people than during the peak in cases, deaths and hospitalizations in January, but similar to the high rates last summer when coronavirus vaccines were still in development.
The federal agency the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted that 99.99% of people fully vaccinated against Covid-19 have not had an infection that resulted in hospitalization or death.
Most new cases of the coronavirus are occurring in southern states, particularly Florida and Texas, but infections are increasing across the country, including New York City, and officials have warned that a “pandemic of no vaccinated ”was taking place.
De Blasio’s new requirements for the public will be phased in over several weeks from mid-August, and inspections and enforcement will begin in September, he said.
Earlier in the week, the mayor recommended people resume wearing masks in indoor public spaces, but stopped ahead of a city mask term.
But Tuesday’s announcement was the most aggressive step the city has taken to curb an increase in cases caused by the Delta variant.
De Blasio has praised Broadway theaters and some restaurant and gym companies who have previously said they will require customers to prove they are vaccinated.
“The only way to attend these facilities indoors will be to get yourself vaccinated,” said de Blasio, a Democrat. “The goal here is to convince everyone that now is the time. If we’re going to stop the Delta variant, now is the time. And that means getting vaccinated now. “
The mayor announced last week that city employees would be required to get vaccinated by mid-September or undergo weekly tests, and he offered a $ 100 incentive to city residents who get the flu shot. vaccinate.
The city plans to create a so-called health pass called the “NYC Pass Key” to provide proof of vaccination required for workers and customers at indoor restaurants, gyms, entertainment and shows.
De Blasio described the pass as a “first nation approach” that will help build on the significant strides New York has already made on immunization.
Some states have vaccination rates below 30%, mostly Republican majority states, as the issue has become highly politicized.
The Associated Press contributed reporting