New York City started enforcing a COVID-19 vaccine mandate Monday, with Mayor Bill de Blasio warning, “there’ll be consequences” for those who do not follow the rules.
The COVID-19 vaccine mandate, also known as the Key to NYC, requires people 12 and older to show proof that they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine for indoor dining, indoor fitness, and indoor entertainment.
Under the mandate, staff at these locations must be vaccinated as well. Places affected include restaurants, bars, nightclubs, catering halls, event spaces, gyms, fitness centers, pools, theaters, museums, aquariums, and zoos, among others.
“Look, you’ve got to be safe. Wherever you go—movie theater, gym, restaurant—you’re going to be safe,” de Blasio said during a virtual press conference Monday morning.
“For those who are unvaccinated, you got to make the move,” de Blasio continued.
The mandate requires the establishments to put up certain signage and verify customers’ COVID-19 vaccine proof, such as vaccination cards issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), New York City vaccination records, other official immunization records, the NYC COVID Safe App, or the Excelsior Pass.
According to the New York City Department of Health, establishments can make some exceptions, such as for outdoor eating, allowing customers to use the bathroom, or for other reasons that will take a small amount of time, for example, less than 10 minutes.
Thirteen agencies will send out inspectors to enforce the mandate, the mayor announced.
“What we’re going to do is have our inspectors out from 13 civilian agencies,” de Blasio said. “We don’t want to fine people. We don’t have to. We want to just get it right and keep moving forward.”
“But I think folks understand by now we are resolute. And if anyone wants to not follow the rules that everyone else has to follow, then of course, there’ll be consequences,” de Blasio, a Democrat, added.
According to de Blasio’s legal counsel (pdf), an establishment found to be non-compliant may be subject to a fine of $1,000. Repeated violations may result in increased fine amounts or other enforcement action.