New York City has decided to impose the nation's strictest pandemic requirement for anyone planning to eat, exercise, drink, or catch a performance indoors at a public establishment. Customers will have to show proof of vaccination or be turned away, the Daily News reports. "Key to NYC Pass" is intended to raise the city's vaccination rate, now about 40% of the population. The delta variant's rapid spread adds to the urgency. "This is crucial because we know that this will encourage a lot more vaccination," Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday. The program will be implemented in phases, starting this month, before enforcement begins in September. In the meantime, the city will do outreach to explain the policy, he said. Similar requirements have been imposed in Europe, per the New York Times.
In France, the mandate led millions of people to sign up for vaccinations and others to take to the streets in protest. "Not everyone is going to agree with this," de Blasio said. But, the mayor said, "It's time for people to see vaccination as literally necessary to living a good and full and healthy life." His mandate does not include wearing a mask indoors. The city already requires its employees to face weekly coronavirus testing if they're not vaccinated, and the mayor has approved a $100 payment to anyone who gets the shots. A state senator whose Queens district has been hit hard by the virus and now has a low vaccination rate supported de Blasio's decision. "There is a madness afoot here, sir, and only government can make a difference," he said. "Give me a better way, or support the mayor." (Read more coronavirus vaccine stories.)