New York City will soon require proof ofvaccination for indoor dining, fitness and entertainment, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Tuesday.
The first-in-the nation approach — called the "Key to NYC Pass" — will apply to workers and customers in those indoor spaces, he said.
"The key to New York City. When you hear those words, I want you to imagine the notion that because someone is vaccinated, they can do all the amazing things that are available in New York City," de Blasio said at a press conference. "This is a miraculous place, literally full of wonders, and if you're vaccinated, all that's gonna open up to you. You'll have the key, you can open the door."
"But if you're unvaccinated, unfortunately, you will not be able to participate in many things," the mayor said.
"It's time for people to see vaccination as literally necessary to living a good and full and healthy life," he added.
The news comes as the delta variant of COVID-19 fuels aHealth officials in New York are taking precautions to prevent another outbreak.
At the beginning of the pandemic, New York City was an epicenter of the disease, with hospital beds overrun and doctors and nurseson lifesaving ventilators. With restrictions now lifting, health officials are trying to prevent another wave by urging residents to get vaccinated, rather than enforce a controversial mask mandate.
The city currently boasts a 66% vaccination rate for adults. De Blasio told "CBS This Morning" that he hopes the new mandate will encourage more New Yorkers to get vaccinated and freely enjoy all that the city has to offer.
"I want people to get vaccinated to feel they can live life fully, have freedom. The reward of vaccination is freedom. If you don't get vaccinated, you're going to be left out," he said.
The policy will be phased in over the coming weeks. Vaccinations are not required to eat outdoors but those who want to attend indoor venues and events must download the city's app or carry their paper vaccination card with them. The final details will be announced and implemented during the week of August 16.
De Blasio told "CBS This Morning" that the city will be working with businesses in the coming weeks to educate them on the new requirements before it is fully enforced in mid-September.
"We are going to implement this in the next few weeks and educate the businesses, support them, find out what they need to make it work. We're not doing any kind of penalties until the second half of September. We want this to work for everyone. A lot of business owners told me 'Thank you, this makes it easier for us, we can tell everybody, it's one standard' ... We're giving them cover in a good way," De Blasio said.
The announcement will have implications for tourists as well. De Blasio said he believes that the new requirement won't impact tourism to the city which has seen a rise in recent months.
"Tourists, the people coming here, more likely that they are vaccinated as well, from all of our studies. Look, in the end this guarantees the safety of everyone involved, and it's also going to encourage a lot of people just take that next step," he said.
"Not everyone is going to agree with this, I understand that. But for so many people, this is going to be a lifesaving act, that we are putting a mandate in place that is going to guarantee a much higher level of vaccination in this city," de Blasio said Tuesday. "And that is the key to protecting people, and the key to our recovery."