New York City will require museum visitors and staff to be vaccinated, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday. The requirement is a part of the city's expanded "Key To NYC" plan to combat the Delta variant.
"We have one mission now on our pathway to recovery, defeat Delta," de Blasio said Monday at a press conference. "It can be done through vaccination. The whole key is vaccination. We keep learning this over and over. We're seeing problems in other parts of the country where folks have not gotten vaccinated, but New Yorkers continue to come out in strong numbers to get vaccinated, and that's going to make all the difference. So, we have a real challenge here, but we know what we can do to fight back."
The order, which goes into effect on Tuesday, mandates all "covered" entertainment spaces in New York City to require both visitors and staff to be vaccinated to enter the building. As a result, visitors wishing to enter the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History and many others will be forced to show proof of vaccination.
The order from de Blasio extends far beyond just museums and other cultural institutions, such as galleries and performing arts theaters. Movie theaters, concert halls, party venues, casinos, restaurants, zoos and aquariums are also among the list of venues that will require visitors to prove their positive vaccination status in order to enter. In announcing the latest effort by the mayor to help boost vaccination rates, de Blasio called the order a "temporary reality" to help stave off the rise in COVID-19 cases.
De Blasio said he believes museums can easily add the vaccine requirement to their ticketing services and will not require additional resources from the city. Visitors and patrons can prove their vaccination status by bringing along a paper copy of their vaccination card or by using an official vaccination app or the New York Excelsior pass.
When asked whether the mandate could potentially harm arts venues and cultural institutions already struggling from a lack of funding and reduced capacity during the pandemic, de Blasio said that the city has provided arts funding throughout the crisis, and that defeating COVID-19 can only help New York's museums in the long run.
"I think all of these pieces move us forward to the day, not long from now, when we won't need these rules," de Blasio said. "And then our cultural institutions can open up 110% in every way. So, I'm always listening to them, but I really think this is the right approach to get us where we need to get. And I think the cultural institutions will find it works and the folks who go and enjoy these institutions will appreciate it."