NEW YORK — Outgoing New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced major expansions to the “Key to NYC” program, the first-in-nation vaccination mandate for workers and customers at indoor dining, fitness, entertainment and performance venues.
Starting December 14th, the program will require children aged 5-11 to show proof of one vaccination dose for those venues. Starting December 27th, New Yorkers aged 12 and older will be required to show proof of two vaccine doses, instead of one, except for those who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The mayor also announced a first-in-the-nation vaccine mandate for private-sector workers. The mandate, which will take effect on December 27th, will apply to roughly 184,000 businesses.
Finally, the mayor announced 5-11-year-old children will be required to get vaccinated to participate in high-risk extracurricular activities. These activities include sports, band, orchestra, and dance. This requirement for the initial vaccine dose will take effect on December 14th.
de Blasio’s mandate will almost certainly be challenged in court. After the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit halted an OSHA vaccine mandate, OSHA suspended enforcement of the rule.
“New York City will not give a single inch in the fight against COVID-19. Vaccination is the way out of this pandemic, and these are bold, first-in-the-nation measures to encourage New Yorkers to keep themselves and their communities safe,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “From workplace mandates, to $100 incentives, to mobile and at-home vaccination offerings, no place in the nation has done more to end the COVID era. And if you have not taken this step yet: there’s no better day than today to stand up for your city.”
“There’s no higher priority than keeping New Yorkers healthy and ending this pandemic once and for all. The most important step we can all take is to take the free, safe, and effective COVID-19 vaccine,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Melanie Hartzog. “With these bold new measures, New York City will continue to lead the way in moving past this virus and building a recovery for all of us.”
“Vaccination is the best tool we have to keep New Yorkers healthy and ensure a robust economic recovery for all. These important measures will help to broaden the coverage of the vaccines even further,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been.
“New York City has led the nation when it comes to decisive action on COVID-19,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Dave A. Chokshi. “We have to be more relentless than the virus, and I know that our vaccine policies will save lives and help prevent unnecessary suffering.”
The City will issue additional enforcement and reasonable accommodation guidance on December 15th, along with additional resources to support small businesses with implementation.
Acceptable proof of vaccination includes a CDC issued vaccination card, the New York State Excelsior Pass, the Clear Health Pass, and the NYC COVID Safe App.
Today’s expansions follow recently announced vaccination mandates for City employees, childcare providers, and non-public school employees. Ninety-four percent of the City workforce is vaccinated.
New York City has administered over 12.5 million vaccination doses. Nearly 6.5 million New Yorkers – including 89% of adults – have received at least one dose. More than 125,000 children aged 5-11 have already received at least one dose.