Effective immediately, New York City casinos must require proof of vaccination from both employees and guests.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) yesterday expanded the city’s “Key to NYC” program to include the two commercial racinos. Beginning today, August 17, people trying to enter Resorts World New York City or Empire City Casino must provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
The “Key to NYC” program requires anyone aged 12 and older entering an array of indoor facilities to present proof that they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Qualifying vaccines must be authorized for emergency use by the US Food and Drug Administration or World Health Organization.
The key to New York City is an approach that starts with vaccination,” de Blasio declared. “We want you to enjoy New York City, but you need to be vaccinated to do it.”
The vax mandate initially applied to indoor dining, fitness, and entertainment facilities, but casinos were not included. The mayor’s office expanded the program on Monday to incorporate gaming. De Blasio additionally moved sports stadiums, movie theaters, sports stadiums, concert venues, and museums into the policy.
Acceptable forms of proof of vaccination include one’s physical CDC vaccination card, photocopy of the card, and documentation uploaded to the NYC COVID Safe app.
De Blasio set an ambitious goal earlier this year of having five million New York City residents fully vaccinated by the end of June. The mission was unrealized.
According to the latest data, 4.7 million people in the five boroughs are today fully vaccinated. More than 74 percent of adults aged 18 and older are immunized, while 62.7 percent of all New Yorkers are inoculated.
Del Blasio’s “Key to NYC” program, the mayor hopes, will result in many vaccine-hesitant people receiving their shots. The city will begin sending inspectors out to enforce the vax mandates beginning September 13. Businesses found in violation will be subjected to a fine ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.
The program, de Blasio contends, isn’t about penalizing businesses, but preventing the city from reimplementing restrictions as a result of the highly contagious delta variant.
“We do not want to go back to restrictions,” de Blasio said. “The key to moving forward: vaccinations.”
Mandate Push Back
New York City’s citywide vaccination mandate for many indoor places is a first in the nation for a major US city. It’s naturally drawn criticism.
Some New York restauranteurs said they will ignore the vaccine mandate requirement.
It’s not political. It’s about civil liberties and freedoms,” Mary Josephine Generoso, who owns Pasticceria Rocco pastry shops in Manhattan and Brooklyn, told the New York Post.
Del Blasio says the program is in NYC’s best interest.
“We do not want to go back to restrictions,” the mayor stated. “Everything we’re doing is about keeping people sad. We’re talking about protecting New Yorkers during a global health crisis.”
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