In order to assist the state with the reopening of businesses, venues, theatres and other events which involve large congregations of people, Andrew Cuomo has launched the Excelsior Pass: an app developed in partnership with IBM which offers a free and voluntary way to share your COVID-19 vaccination or negative test status which follows the guidelines set by the state of New York.
This app, which is available for free through the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, will help fast track the opening of these venues in a way that is similar to a boarding pass, which can be both printed or accessed through the phone on the app. This will allow the person access into the venue; It will use a secure QR code which gives the businesses access to COVID information that will remain secure and confidential. Any person using this method will also need a photo ID of proof that the pass belongs to you and adults may hold passes for any accompanying minors.
While working with IBM, the heaviest importance was placed on the safety of protected health information within the app. The app includes technology, like blockchain and encryption, to protect this data. Private health data is not stored or tracked within the app in any way. It also has multi-language access as well.
Major venues like Madison Square Garden and the Times Union Center have already announced that they will begin to utilize this app, other businesses are open to learn more and opt into this system. 13 major labs in New York have also promised to begin rapid reporting COVID tests to the State Department of Health’s Electronic Clinical Laboratory Reporting System (ECLRS) to ensure that the Excelsior Pass app and its users can receive their results in the window of time before the event.
Governor Cuomo stated, “New Yorkers have proven they can follow public health guidance to beat back COVID, and the innovative Excelsior Pass is another tool in our new toolbox to fight the virus while allowing more sectors of the economy to reopen safely and keeping personal information secure,” and has advocated for New York to put both public health and the economy as top priority while dealing with COVID-19.
New York is the first State in the US to have a formal launch backed by the state of this type of app and has already had two trial demonstrations and a beta test with the citizens of New York to ensure that the interface is functional and to get user feedback before the official launch.
Using this app is completely voluntary and it is possible to show other forms of proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test through any other mobile apps that are available or in paper form. If attending any events, even with a negative COVID test or proof of vaccination, you will still be required to follow the CDC’s safety guidelines, participate in social distancing and masking, and will be encouraged to continue basic hand hygiene.