Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the vaccine mandate for restaurants and venues will go into effect tomorrow, Aug. 17.
The first month of the rollout will focus on educating businesses on how this process will work. Then, inspections and enforcement will begin Monday, Sept. 13.
“I am absolutely certain this is going to motivate a lot of people to get vaccinated, particularly young people,” de Blasio said. “We know one of the biggest areas of concern is reaching younger New Yorkers.”
De Blasio said New Yorkers could show proof with the paper card, the Excelsior Pass, or the NYC COVID SAFE app. New Yorkers will be able to work or enjoy indoor dining and venues if they have at least the first vaccination.
“This is going to reach hundreds of thousands of people and convince them it’s time,” de Blasio said. “We know this is going to work because New Yorkers love our arts, our culture, entertainment, restaurants — they’re part of who we are.”
David Burke, a chef and owner of multiple restaurants across New York joined the mayor’s press conference to represent the hospitality industry.
“The new vaccine mandate is a great initiative that points us in the right direction and will keep the industry from being shut down again,” Burke said. “The mandate gives me a new sense of confidence in knowing I am providing a safe environment for my guests and also for my employees.”
De Blasio warned of the serious penalties of faking vaccination cards. Falsification of the vaccination document could result in up to seven years of prison time.
“I want people to understand that is not something to play around with,” de Blasio said. “We’re in the middle of a pandemic, don’t even think about falsifying because there will be serious consequences if you do.”
The mayor also said fines would be handed out to businesses that don’t comply after the month-long grace period. Enforcement goes into effect Sept. 13, and businesses that violate this mandate will face a $1,000 fine for the first offense and escalating penalties thereafter.
Jessica Tisch, the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) commissioner put together a de-escalation training webinar for businesses that may have to turn customers away. Tisch said that training would be available sometime this week.
Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi said New York City’s vaccination campaign prevented over 250,000 cases, 44,000 hospitalizations and 8,300 deaths since the start of vaccinations to July 1.
“Vaccination continues to save lives, and that’s why you’ve seen our concerted focus on it,” Chokshi said. “NYC is leading the country in our COVID response.”
Last week, the FDA and CDC recommended that people with certain immunocompromising conditions get a third dose of the COVID vaccine. Chokshi said this recommendation came after research showed a lower immune response after two Pfizer or Moderna vaccine doses.
City-run vaccine sites will now offer third doses to certain immunocompromised New Yorkers through walk-ins and appointments.
Visit NYC.GOV/COVIDVACCINE to learn more about which medical conditions qualify and how to make an appointment.