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By now, you’ve had some time to get used to the city’s vaccination mandate that came into effect on August 17. Dozens of indoor businesses now require proof of vaccination for all guests and employees, and enforcement of the policy begins today. To make sure you’re prepared, here’s everything you need to know about the mandate.

Proof of vaccination is required at Broadway theaters. Photo: Phil O’Brien

Everyone 12 years of age and older is subject to the vaccine mandate, which the city calls the Key to NYC. All guests and employees of the following types of businesses are required to show proof of having received at least one dose of an authorized COVID-19 vaccine in order to enter. 

Indoor dining: Including restaurants, catering halls, event spaces, hotel banquet rooms, bars, nightclubs, cafeterias, grocery stores with indoor dining, coffee shops and fast food or quick service with indoor dining.

Indoor fitness: Including gyms, fitness centers, fitness classes, pools, indoor studios and dance studios.

Indoor entertainment: Including movie theaters, music and concert venues, museums, aquariums and zoos, professional sports arenas, indoor stadiums, convention centers, exhibition halls, performing arts theaters, bowling alleys, arcades, pool and billiard halls, recreational game centers, adult entertainment and indoor play areas.

The Excelsior Pass is a digital alternative to carrying your vaccination card around. Photo: New York State

Businesses are allowed to make exceptions for people who are coming in only to use the bathroom or “for another reason that will take a small amount of time (for example, less than 10 minutes).” Otherwise, they will face $1,000 fines for failure to enforce the policy — and up to $5,000 if infractions continue. According to amNY, the city is deploying inspectors from 13 agencies, including FDNY and the Departments of Health, Buildings, Sanitation, and Transportation, to check on businesses.

Valid proof of vaccination can be in the form of your CDC vaccination card or an NYC vaccination record from your health care provider (photos and copies of these are also accepted). If you prefer to keep things digital, you can use the NYC COVID Safe or Excelsior Pass apps to upload your records. 

Even if fully vaccinated, current guidelines require you to mask up when riding public transportation (including taxis and car services); in school or health care settings; in certain group residential facilities, such as nursing homes and homeless shelters; in a store, restaurant or other public space where the owner or operator requires masks; and at work, if required by your employer.

New Yorkers are being encouraged to vaccinate.

According to the latest Health Department data, 60.5% of eligible New York City residents are fully vaccinated and 67.3% have received at least one dose.

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