STATEN ISLAND, NY – Mayor Eric Adams announced Friday that the “Key to NYC” coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine passport program will end next Monday.
This means that business owners in covered establishments like bars, restaurants and gyms will no longer need to check the vaccination status of customers before they enter. Companies can still use their discretion, but the government mandate will no longer be in place, Adams said.
“People can come in and enjoy the restaurants, enjoy the business, and be a part of this great city without having to show proof of vaccination,” Adams said at a press briefing in Times Square. “It’s time to open up our city and kick-start the economy.”
Adams praised former mayor Bill de Blasio for the tough decisions he and the city’s medical professionals have had to make over the past two years of the pandemic.
During his Times Square press conference, the current mayor held up a sheet of paper containing statistics claiming the decision had saved up to 48,000 lives throughout the pandemic.
Dr. Dave Chokshi, who served as the city’s health commissioner for most of the pandemic, held back tears as he recalled the 40,000 New Yorkers who died from the pandemic.
While joining the mayor in his announcement, Chokshi remained cautious about the virus that has changed the world over the past two years.
“While this wave of COVID-19 wanes, we cannot say this pandemic is over,” he said at the press conference.
De Blasio first announced the COVID vaccine passports in August and they went into effect on September 13 as the city tried to encourage people to get vaccinated.
New York City becomes the latest city to lift its passport mandates after several national cities like Boston, Philadelphia and Washington DC
Adams’ announcement comes the same day he said New York Public School students ages 5 and up will no longer need to wear masks indoors.
The city will also switch to a four-level color-coded alert system, reminiscent of the post-9/11 terrorist alert system, to relay COVID status in the five boroughs.
Ranging from low to very high, the city is currently at a “low” rating, and “very high” is only reserved for worst-case scenarios like March and April 2020.