Aug. 17 (UPI) — New York City on Tuesday became the first U.S. city to begin requiring proof of vaccination for people who go indoors at places such as restaurants, museums, gyms, entertainment venues and other businesses.
The mandate, announced earlier this month, applies to virtually everyone except children under the age of 12, as they are not yet able to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Accepted forms of proof include Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-issued vaccination cards, the New York State Excelsior Pass and the NYC COVID Safe app. Photos of the vaccination cards are also acceptable.
“New York is leading the way in the fight against COVID-19 and the Delta variant,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted Monday. “Getting vaccinated is the Key to NYC.”
There are a few exceptions to the mandate. In addition to children under 12, athletes, contractors and some performers who don’t live in the city won’t have to show proof of vaccination.
Those who violate the mandate can be fined $1,000 for a first offense, $2,000 for the second and $5,000 for each offense after that.
City officials say training will be available for businesses on how to handle possible confrontations with members of the public.
The city won’t begin enforcing the vaccination mandate until Sept. 13.
Almost 60% of residents in the state have been fully vaccinated, according to data.
In Chicago, city health officials announced that beginning Friday face coverings will be required regardless of vaccination status at indoor public settings such as bars, restaurants, gyms and common areas of condos/residential buildings and private clubs.
“With the highly transmissible Delta variant causing case rates to increase, now is the time to re-institute this measure to prevent further spread and save lives,” Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said. “We continue to track the data closely and are hopeful this will only be temporary and we can bend the COVID curve, as we’ve done in the past.”
The city has reported an average of 444 new daily cases and about two deaths with a test positivity rate of 4.5%.
Like previous mask mandates in the city, children aged 2 and younger will not be required to wear masks and face coverings can be removed when actively eating and drinking or for other activities that require removal such as beard shaves or facials.
To date, a total of 50.9% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while 59.9% of the population has received at least one dose according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Additionally, 61.8% of adults are fully vaccinated and 72.2% have received at least one shot.