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NYC begins enforcing COVID-19 vaccine mandate for indoor businesses Monday. Here’s what you need to know.

New York City government will begin enforcing the "Key to NYC" vaccine mandate for indoor businesses on Sept. 13, 2021.
File photo/Dean Moses

The city will deploy inspectors to enforce the vaccine mandate for restaurants, bars, gyms, and other indoor venues starting Monday, Sept. 13.

Municipal workers will check on the businesses to make sure they require workers and patrons aged 12 or older to have at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the new regime last month, when the policy known as Key to NYC first went into effect on Aug. 17, giving businesses almost four weeks to prepare for the requirements.

“This is going to reach hundreds of thousands of people and convince them it’s time,” de Blasio said at the time. “We know this is going to work because New Yorkers love our arts, our culture, entertainment, restaurants — they’re part of who we are.”

The mandate covers eateries, indoor fitness, and entertainment venues like movie theaters, museums, and concert halls, and de Blasio hopes the measures will boost inoculations among younger New Yorkers, who still lag well behind older residents for vaccination rates.

“I am absolutely certain this is going to motivate a lot of people to get vaccinated, particularly young people,” he said in August. “We know one of the biggest areas of concern is reaching younger New Yorkers.”

The businesses subject to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s vaccine mandate.Mayor’s Office

Hizzoner said New Yorkers can show proof with the paper card, the Excelsior Pass, or the NYC COVID SAFE app.

NYPD won’t be part of the enforcement, which will instead have civilian inspectors from 13 city agencies, such as FDNY, Department of Health, Buildings, Sanitation, and Transportation.

The jab patrol will focus first on helping businesses set up protocols before handing out fines, the Daily News reported.

Tickets start at $1,000 for the first and second violations, $2,000 for the third, and $5,000 for any further infractions after that.

According to the latest Health Department data, 60.5% of eligible New York City residents are fully vaccinated, and 67.3% have at least one dose, meaning 32.8% have yet to get their shots.

The city’s most recent infection rate across a seven-day average was 3.04% as of Sept. 10, and has been decreasing steadily since late last month, with a 3.65% rate on Aug. 28.

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