New York (AP) — New York City will begin requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccinations on Tuesday for anyone wanting to partake in much of public life — dining indoors at restaurants, working out at a gym, visiting a stadium or strolling through a museum.
The list of public venues widened Monday, as Mayor Bill de Blasio moved forward with an unprecedented move by the country’s largest city to goad more people into getting vaccinated and control a pandemic that has wrought havoc on the economy and people’s day-to-day lives.
While the new requirement goes into effect Tuesday, enforcement won’t begin until Sept. 13 — to give the public more time to get vaccinated or be shut out from many of the public venues that had only recently begun to reopen after being shut down for many months because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’re going to get out there and educate people, and we’re going to remind people that we really want people to take this seriously,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a press conference Monday.
“Just buy into this because it’s going to work for all of us, is going to make us all safer,” he said.
De Blasio first announced the new initiative Aug. 3.
City officials promised training for businesses on how to de-escalate possible confrontations between patrons and their staff who will be on the frontlines for enforcing the new rules.
As of Monday, the city reported that 5.2 million of the city’s 8.8 million residents have had at least one shot of a vaccine, with 4.7 million fully vaccinated.
New York City averaged 2,000 new cases of coronavirus per day over the past seven days, a number that has been steadily increasing since falling to around 200 per day in late June.
Other cities, including San Francisco, followed New York’s move in taking more aggressive measures against the pandemic.
The requirement is meant to goad more people to get vaccinated in order to take part in daily public life. It remains to be seen if that strategy will work.
Tourists and other visitors would also have to comply with the requirement by showing their vaccination card or other documentation.
De Blasio warned against falsifying vaccination cards — which he called a “sacred” document. Doing so could be met with severe penalties. Restaurants and other establishments that don’t comply could be fined up to $1,000 for a first offense, and could escalate.
In addition to patrons, employees at restaurants, gyms and indoor performance venues will also have to be vaccinated.
This version corrects the average new cases of coronavirus in New York City over the past seven days: It is 2,000 new cases, not 200.
Follow more of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic