Vaccines will be required in New York City indoor spaces such as restaurants, entertainment venues and gyms, in what Mayor Bill de Blasio is calling a “first-in-the-nation approach.”

The city is calling the mandate the “Key to NYC Pass” and requires at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to enter a public indoor space, starting August 16.

“The key to New York City – when you hear those words, I want you to imagine the notion that because someone’s vaccinated they can do all the amazing things that are available in this city,” de Blasio said Tuesday. “This is a miraculous place, literally full of wonders and if you’re vaccinated, all that’s going to open up for you. But if you’re unvaccinated, you won’t be able to participate in many things.”

Before the city’s announcement, Equinox Group announced Monday that its Equinox and SoulCycle fitness centers would implement a vaccination requirement beginning in early September. 

“We have always made the health and safety of our communities our top priority, and we will continue to do so in partnership with infectious disease experts as well as local governments,” Harvey Spevak, Equinox Group Executive Chairman said in a statement. “We have a responsibility to take bold action and respond to changing circumstances with urgency. We encourage other leading brands to join us in this effort to best protect our communities.”

On July 30, The Broadway League also announced a vaccine mandate for all audience members, performers, backstage crew, and theatre staff, effective in all 41 of its NYC Broadway theaters.

“Examples right there… where you see leaders in the private sector already saying, clearly, vaccination’s the answer,” de Blasio said of the sectors implementing vaccine requirements. “We need these strong, clear mandates.”

Coming L.A. Vaccine Mandate

On July 27, the city of Los Angeles announced it would require unvaccinated city workers to take weekly COVID-19 tests and stated Mayor Eric Garcetti and the City Council would “aggressively pursue a vaccine mandate for all city workers once the vaccines receive full approval by the FDA.”

While the mandate was solely for L.A. city employees and gave the option for testing instead of vaccination, New York City had a similar mandate before Tuesday’s announcement.

Similar to New York’s prior mandate, L.A. city employees will be asked to submit verification of whether or not they have been fully vaccinated to a human resources representative. If not vaccinated, a weekly negative COVID-19 test must be submitted by the unvaccinated city worker.

“Angelenos have stayed inside for over a year to protect themselves and others. I think it’s safe to say that we’re getting tired of putting our lives on hold to protect people who don’t want to protect themselves and get vaccinated,” Council President Nury Martinez said. “In order for us, as leaders, to ask Angelenos to get vaccinated, we must set an example as the largest employer in the city of Los Angeles. This is us doing our part.”

The announcement came a day after California Gov. Gavin Newsom said announced a similar mandate for state employees.

“We are now asking for that verification, no longer requiring, or rather encouraging self-attestation. This is a requirement to prove you’ve been vaccinated and if you have not, you will be tested,” Newsom said Monday. “Our projections are sobering… if we continue down this path, our projections will put additional pressure… on systems throughout the state.”

The city of Los Angeles said it would await full FDA approval before mandating COVID-19 vaccinations and while Pfizer has submitted a request to have its vaccine approved, there is no indication that the FDA will do so any sooner than 2022.

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