Mayor Bill de Blasio made New York the first state to issue a mandate on Tuesday after announcing that citizens and visitors will have to show proof of vaccination status (at least one dose) to participate in indoor activities such as: indoor dining, gyms, and concert halls, including Broadway. France and Italy issued a similar mandate just last month. Outdoor activities will not be included in this mandate.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has been taking an aggressive approach in his attempts to beat coronavirus in New York City after the Delta virus has begun to show its head; the mandate will begin on August 16 and will start to be enforced on September 13, right around when schools will go back in session. The Mayor is also requiring city workers to get vaccinated or be tested weekly; he has also been offering a $100 incentive to the public for getting vaccinated. Children under the age of 12, which are ineligible for vaccination, will still be allowed entry indoors.
“If you want to participate in our society fully, you’ve got to get vaccinated[…]this is going to be a requirement.” Mayor Bill de Blasio stated in his conference, “not everyone is going to agree with that, but for some people, this is going to be the lifesaving act,” he continued. While the Mayor is not reinstating an indoor mask mandate, he is doing so in order to focus on increasing the vaccination rates among New Yorkers, worrying that requiring everyone to wear masks would remove the incentive to get vaccinated.
On a national scale, COVID-19 cases have averaged 86,000 cases a day as of Monday August 2, this is a huge jump from the previous average of 13,000 daily cases. 66% of the city has been fully vaccinated, according to data, meaning they have received both Pfizer or Moderna, or the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines. But, many pockets of the city have continued to have lowered vaccination rates. While the vaccine does not make anyone 100% impervious to getting COVID-19, including the much more dangerous and infectious Delta variant, it has proven to drastically reduce the severity of COVID-19 symptoms and reduce the rate of hospitalizations and death. Vaccinated individuals can still spread the Delta variant as well.
This vaccination mandate comes with the rollout of New York’s new app, Excelsior, to show proof of vaccination; the standard vaccination card received when you were vaccinated is also acceptable proof, as well as the city’s new vaccine pass. The mayor has not yet commented on how the city will handle vaccination statuses from international travelers with vaccinations through AstraZeneca or Sinovac.
After consulting with the U.S Department of Justice, de Blasio was assured that it was both legal and appropriate to enact this mandate, even with the vaccines only being approved for emergency use authorization; full approval is expected to come in the upcoming months by the Food and Drug Administration.