A person walks in front of Aladdin at the New Amsterdam Theater in Times Square on June 8, 2021 in New York City.
Noam Galai | Getty Images
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered vaccinations for a number of indoor facilities at a press conference Tuesday morning and requested evidence of Covid vaccinations from employees and customers of indoor restaurants, gyms and entertainment centers.
The order comes into effect on August 16 and will be fully enforced from September 13. De Blasio said the mandate, known as the Key to NYC Pass, would encourage increased vaccinations to combat the spread of the delta coronavirus variant.
“When you hear these words, I want you to imagine that someone who is vaccinated can do all the amazing things that are available in this city,” said de Blasio of the Key to NYC Pass.
De Blasio added that the city will start screening companies for compliance in mid-September. All affected customers and employees can either present their vaccination cards or upload their vaccination certificate to the Excelsior Pass application.
New York City is believed to be the first in the nation to implement such a mandate. President Joe Biden replied in the affirmative when asked at a press conference Tuesday afternoon if he thought other cities should follow suit, but stakeholders across the food industry have raised concerns about how the program will work.
Shortly after de Blasio’s press conference, the National Restaurant Association spoke out in favor of increased vaccinations. However, the organization, which claims to represent nearly 500,000 restaurants and bars, said that enforcing the mandate would be arduous and would lead to “significant changes” for future restaurants.
“Checking vaccination status is not like identifying a customer before serving them a drink – employees are trained on it,” said Larry Lynch, the group’s senior vice president of science and industry, in a statement. “Now our employees are expected to check the vaccination status of every customer who wants to eat at the facility without any training.”
Tilman Fertitta, billionaire chairman and CEO of Landry’s, which operates several restaurants in New York City, reiterated Lynch’s testimony in a Tuesday interview with CNBC’s Power Lunch. The Houston Rockets owner and supporter of former President Trump advocated the use of vaccines but said he wanted to prevent his restaurants from being the “vaccination police” for customers.
“They shouldn’t have told us what we were doing until they laid out how we were going to do it,” said Fertitta.
The New York City Hospitality Alliance also raised concerns about the mandate in a statement released Tuesday. The alliance admitted that the new measure would be a “difficult and controversial move,” but added that it could help “prevent new occupancy restrictions and close orders that small businesses and workers who are not yet up for grabs.” recovered from the pandemic will be devastating again ”.
The mayor’s order comes just a day after de Blasio mandated vaccinations for all new employees in the city, requiring them to provide proof of vaccination by their first day of work without being regularly tested instead. De Blasio issued similar mandates for city and health workers in July, asking them to either review their vaccination status by August 2 or submit weekly negative coronavirus tests.
New York City also began offering $ 100 on July 30th to anyone who receives their vaccinations from a city vaccination site. So far, de Blasio said 11,000 people have earned the $ 100 grant, with a total of 5 million city dwellers vaccinated with at least one dose.
“The only reason for this recovery is the vaccination,” said de Blasio. “So the time has come. And this will send that message clearly.”
CNBC’s Pia Singh contributed to this coverage.
Correction: A previous headline misrepresented the scope of the vaccine mandate for indoor activities. It covers certain indoor activities.