With the Delta variant of the coronavirus surging throughout the United States and the world, local government officials are taking matters into their hands to help stave off the virus and end the pandemic. One such change is soon to be a requirement in New York City: offering proof that you’ve received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine before entering a shared, indoor space.
According to officials of NYC, Approximately 66% of adults in New York City are fully vaccinated, 72% with at least one dose, and 70% of American adults receiving at least one dose of the vaccine as of this Monday.
The new requirement will phase into the city – the first to do this vaccine proof requirement officially – over the next several weeks of August and September. Mayor de Blasio said, “The only way to patronize these establishments indoors will be if you’re vaccinated,” de Blasio said. “The goal here is to convince everyone that this is the time. If we’re going to stop the delta variant, the time is now.”
On Tuesday, President Joe Biden stated his support of the policy move and said other cities should also give “the authority to those restaurants or businesses to say: ‘In order to come in, you have to give proof that you’re either vaccinated or you can’t come in.’”
The restrictions will apply to indoor dining establishments, gyms, event venues and any other space where the public may gather indoors in the city.
Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance restaurant group supports the policy, desiring to ensure “that New York City does not revert to restrictions and shut down orders that would again absolutely devastate small businesses that have not yet recovered from the pandemic.”
The Five-Borough Chamber Alliance agrees that the mandate is a complicated decision, but ultimately, “worthy of support for protecting public health and keeping the city on the path to full economic recovery.”
Some business owners across the city fully support the process, while others have some reservations. Seongmin Jun, manager of the Dear Han Café in Queens, for example, is uncertain of how the business will be viable with him serving as the only barista and having to check vaccine cards always, even during rushes. Plus, his concern extends to maintaining customers, “Will customers get offended for checking if they got COVID vaccinations? I mean I don’t know how to do that, or even if I will have time to do that.” He went on to say, “They’re making it too hard for businesspeople. I get what they are trying to say, but there must be another way to reduce the cases of COVID.”
Sean Ogs, manager of the Woodside Café nearby said, “We’ve already been in a struggle. I don’t know how I’m going to deal with it. It’s going to be extra work. It’ll make things impossible.”
The focus is encouraging Americans to get the COVID-19 vaccine, though. De Blasio stated, “It is time for people to see vaccinations as literally necessary to living a good, full and healthy life. If you’re unvaccinated, unfortunately, you will not be able to participate in many things.”