Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, on Aug. 3 announced that starting in mid-September, gyms, restaurants, and theaters can’t allow unvaccinated people inside. Customers will have to present a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) vaccination card, use New York’s “Excelsior” app, or a New York City app.
When asked by The Epoch Times whether the COVID-19 vaccination mandate would be expanded to delis, bodegas, and supermarkets, a New York City Department of Health official said the policy will be evaluated and might be expanded to other industries.
It isn’t clear what businesses could be targeted by the mandate next or if bodegas, delis, or supermarkets may be impacted.
The new requirement for restaurants and gyms will be phased in over several weeks in August and September, representing the most aggressive step of any U.S. city so far to implement COVID-19-related controls. De Blasio and other officials said such a policy is needed to deal with the Delta variant.
“The only way to patronize these establishments indoors will be if you’re vaccinated,” de Blasio said. “The goal here is to convince everyone that this is the time. If we’re going to stop the Delta variant, the time is now.”
De Blasio didn’t issue a mask mandate but suggested it isn’t off the table.
“Right now what we want to nail is people getting vaccinated, and, very bluntly, showing that life is much better when you’re vaccinated,” he said. “You have more freedom when you’re vaccinated, and you have a lot less, you have fewer choices, fewer opportunities if you’re not vaccinated.”
Later, President Joe Biden later said that he supported the city’s mandate and said other cities should do the same.
The city’s COVID-19 vaccine restrictions drew widespread condemnation on Twitter, with people accusing de Blasio and Democrats of trying to create a two-tiered society that’s tantamount to segregation based on one’s vaccination status.
And it wasn’t just social media pundits who panned the decision.
Seongmin Jun, the manager of Dear Han Cafe in Queens, questioned how he would check vaccine cards while handling the rush of patrons during lunch hour.
“Will customers get offended for checking if they got COVID vaccinations? I mean I don’t know how to do that, or even if I will have time to do that,” Jun said, according to The Associated Press.
“They’re making it too hard for businesspeople,” Jun told AP, adding that he understands “what they are trying to say, but there must be another way to reduce the cases of COVID.”