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Key to NYC Mandate

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the Key to NYC vaccination mandate for indoor dining, entertainment and fitness which began on August 17th. Enforcement will begin, with a multi-agency coalition, on September 13th.

Mayor de Blasio said, “New York City has one mission: defeat the delta variant and build a recovery for all of us. The Key to NYC sends a powerful message that vaccination will unlock our city’s potential, and we’ll stop at nothing to save lives and keep New Yorkers safe.”

Initially, the mandate only applied to indoor dining, gyms, and indoor entertainment venues. The mayor expanded the policy to nightclubs, pools, city museums, and other cultural institutions, saying, “We want people to enjoy the fullness of the city, but you gotta be vaccinated to do it. It’s going to be a reason for people to get vaccinated, particularly young people, and we know how important that is.”

Places excluded from this mandate include:

- Establishments where food is consumed offsite/outdoors only

- Residential buildings

- Office buildings

- Childcare programs

- Pre-K through grade 12 schools and programs

- Senior centers

- Churches hosting Sunday potlucks or similar events

- Community centers

- Charitable food services

- Home Catering

New York businesses have until September 13th to become compliant. Afterwards, city agencies will start conducting inspections and issuing penalties for violations. Approximately 56% of NYC residents are fully vaccinated. Proof of at least one dose is sufficient. The unvaccinated are still allowed to access bathrooms and pick up food. Those who violate the mandate are subject to a fine of $1,000 for a first violation, $2,000 for a second, and $5,000 for subsequent rule-breaking.

Jacqueline Badillo, a cashier at Table 87 in Brooklyn Heights said, “I feel like it’s gonna be a big mess. It was like, ‘Get the vaccine for the greater good.’ Then it was, ‘Get the vaccine if you can win a free college tuition.’ Now it’s kind of like, ‘Get the vaccine, or you really can’t do anything.'”

Georgie Fulton, a server at The Long Island Bar in Brooklyn said, “Everyone’s struggling to find more staff, and then that’s just one extra thing that we have to do that takes time. It’s just time-consuming and annoying.”

Nonresident performers and professional athletes are not subject to the mandate, as will those who accompany them as part of their job. They will have to wear a mask whenever they can’t physically distance six feet.

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