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De Blasio defends controversial vaccine passports as NYC businesses brace for loss of patrons

New York City businesses are concerned as Mayor de Blasio announced a "first in the nation" vaccine mandate on Tuesday for many indoor businesses and workplaces.

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Elie Cantin-Nantel Ottawa ON
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New York City businesses are concerned as Mayor de Blasio announced a "first in the nation" vaccine mandate on Tuesday for many indoor businesses and workplaces.

Businesses affected include the city's 26,000 restaurants as well as gyms, and concert venues, including the 41 renowned theatres on Broadway.

New Yorkers will have to use Cuomo's "Excelsior Pass," vaccine passport, or their CDC vaccination card, which contains personal information, in order to access the events.

If New York City's vaccination uptake does not rise following the announcement, then certain businesses could lose a significant number of patrons, as many adults in the city remain unvaccinated.

De Blasio made the announcement following a rise in cases due to the Delta variant. "if you're unvaccinated, unfortunately you will not be able to participate in many things," said de Blasio.

"The point we're trying to get across it's time for people to see vaccination as literally necessary to living a good and full and healthy life."

While other vaccine passports systems have allowed for people to obtain a negative test instead of the vaccine, NYC will not be doing that. However, it will allow people with one dose to access vaccine only venues.

"This is crucial because we know that this will encourage a lot more vaccination, said de Blasio. We've seen the impact of the mandate we can put in place for city workers already starting to move people to vaccination."

De Blasio says that city will start by working with businesses. "This new policy will be phased in over the coming weeks. So we've been working with the business community, getting input."

"The final details of the policy will be announced and implemented in the week of August 16th," added de Blasio. "Then on September 13th... we'll begin inspections and enforcement."

De Blasio says that the phased in approach will give the opportunity to businesses to get familiar with the new policy. "We want to give businesses, big and small, a chance to get acclimated. We want to make adjustments based on their input, but this will move forward."

Still, there is concern for businesses, who have had to endure long lockdowns from Governor Cuomo, about how this will impact their revenue, especially if the almost percent of unvaccinated New Yorkers choose to stay that way.

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