New York City is stepping up outreach efforts to businesses affected by the forthcoming proof-of-vaccination mandate, with Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiling on Tuesday a new poster for affected shops to hang on their storefront meant to convey the fact that the vaccine is now required.
“One of the things we heard from restaurant owners is they wanted a simple message that they could put up at the entrance to a restaurant so everyone understands the rules,” de Blasio said at his Aug. 31 daily press briefing, while holding up a copy of the new poster. “And they understand it’s a city rule, it’s not something made up by each restaurant. It’s universal now.”
The policy, known as the Key to NYC, mandates that all facilities offering indoor dining (including restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and cafes), indoor fitness, or indoor entertainment (including movie theaters, performance venues, and museums) to require proof of vaccination for both staff and customers.
The policy technically went into effect on Aug. 17, but enforcement does not begin until Sept. 13. That’s to ensure there is enough time for the thousands of businesses affected to adjust to the new normal, and make preparations, the mayor and other officials have said.
Come Sept. 13, businesses found to be violating the vaccine mandate could face fines of $1,000 for the first offense, $2,000 for a second offense, and $5,000 for each additional offense.
The straightforward poster communicates in large letters that “New York City requires you to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter this business,” notes that those 12 years old or above must show proof of vaccination, and then provides resources to find out where to get a vaccine. The poster references the fact that the vaccine is free.
Hizzoner said that he believes the poster may encourage people to get the jab upon seeing that they will not be able to go to their favorite grub spot or see a movie otherwise, possibly even going to get the shot before returning.
“We’ve done a lot of research. We know the vast majority of unvaccinated people are actually willing to get vaccinated, they just haven’t done it yet,” de Blasio said. “You really want to go to that restaurant, you really want to go to that concert, whatever it may be, here’s a way to access that information. The nearest vaccination site. You can literally go to that vaccination site, get your first shot, get your card, come right back, go to that restaurant, go to that movie theater, go to that concert. That’s how flexible this rule is, we just want people to get going on vaccination.”
The poster is available in English and 13 other languages, including Spanish, Chinese, Russian, French, Creole, and Arabic. The city has also put out a poster with advice for business owners on how to implement the mandate, including by familiarizing oneself with acceptable proofs of vaccination, which include a CDC card, the NYC COVID Safe app, or the Excelsior Pass, and having a written implementation plan.
The city is also encouraging business owners to report fake vaccine cards, even setting up tiplines at 833-VAX-SCAM or firstname.lastname@example.org. The mayor noted that those creating phony inoculation records could face prison time.