NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- New York City is set to become the first U.S. city to require proof of vaccination this week -- for a variety of indoor activities.
The vaccination requirement is an effort to lessen the spread of COVID-19, but not everyone believes this mandate is the answer, CBS2's Hazel Sanchez reported Sunday.
More than 200 people rallied outside Gracie Mansion, chanting "Freedom! Freedom!" as they vowed to ignore Mayor Bill de Blasio's vaccine mandate, requiring customers and employees of restaurants with indoor dining, gyms and other indoor venues like theaters be vaccinated.
"We don't like the mandates. We don't approve of them. We want to keep America free," one woman said.
"If my job requires me to get the vaccine, then I'm gonna look to move somewhere else. I have to. I'm not gonna compromise my health for the rest of my life," said Bryce Ciccaglione of Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
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The Key to NYC Pass will go into effect Monday. People will have to show proof of vaccination with the city's new app, the state's Excelsior App or their paper vaccination card.
Children younger than 12, who are still not eligible for the vaccine, will still be allowed into all venues.
Many New Yorkers are on board with the plan as COVID continues to spread.
"The numbers are increasing, and so how do we go back into an environment where we have some kind of controls over what goes on in terms of our health?" said Marcia Cantarella of the Upper West Side.
"I understand why they're doing it. So, I get it," added Celia Wichert of Astoria, Queens.
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During the first four weeks, city officials will be educating businesses and doing public outreach about the Key to NYC Pass. The program will be fully enforced on Sept. 13.
"I think we need some nudging, you know? Some people, it's harder to come to that conclusion," Cantarella said.
"If private businesses want to do that, again it's a choice. I don't agree with it. Hopefully, there will be other businesses that will support freedom," another person said.
Many businesses are concerned about bearing responsibility for enforcing the mandate, but others say it's the price of doing business these days.
The jokes were flowing at the Gotham Comedy Club in Chelsea on Sunday night. Management said it already has its act together for the Key to NYC Pass initiative. All employees are fully vaccinated and the venue has notified future comedians and patrons they have to prove they're vaccinated, too, if they want to attend a show.
"If you want to come to an indoor space, you should be vaccinated. So we're gonna be checking cards tomorrow," manager Tom Gamblin said.
"I think that's really fair. I think that everyone should be vaccinated when they come to a club. When they're inside, I think it's really important," patron David Freeman said.
"I understand both sides of it. That's the thing. As somebody who is vaccinated, I got vaccinated for work purposes. Would I have gotten vaccinated if I didn't have to? I don't know that I would have," comedian Gina Brillon said.
The city has not said what penalties business will face if they do not enforce the COVID vaccine requirement. Places like retails, grocery stores and pharmacies are not impacted by the vaccine mandate.
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