Mayor Eric Adams announced this morning at a press briefing that he will suspend the “Key to NYC” coronavirus vaccine program beginning this coming Monday, March 7. Proprietors of indoor dining, entertainment and fitness establishments will no longer need to require their patrons to show vaccine status before entering the premises. Businesses previously covered by the Key to NYC executive order can use discretion about continuing to require proof of vaccination or masking indoors if they choose.
“Folks can come in and enjoy the restaurants, enjoy the businesses and be part of this great city without having to show proof of vaccination,” Adams said during a media briefing in Times Square. “It’s time to open our city and get the economy back operating.”
Adams suggested in earlier statements that, beyond allowing the Key to NYC executive order to expire, he will end other pandemic protocols in the coming months as long as New York City remains at a low level. In the meantime, all other COVID-19 mandates will remain in effect, including those imposed on municipal workers and all employees of private companies who gather for in-person work. Employers must continue to require employees to be vaccinated unless the employer can provide a verified “reasonable accommodation” for their employee. Although the mayor did not address this directly in today’s press briefing, the wearing of masks may continue to be mandated in many locations, including on public transportation and in Broadway theaters, homeless shelters, jails and prisons, adult care facilities and healthcare settings.
“Two years ago, New York City was the epicenter of the pandemic, but thanks to New Yorkers getting vaccinated and getting boosted we have made tremendous progress,” said Adams. “I’ve said time and time again that the numbers and science will guide us as we continue to recover and rebuild, and now New York City is back, and vaccinations are why we’re back. New Yorkers should be getting out and enjoying our amazing city. The fight may not be over, but we’re clearly winning the war. We are open for business and New York City has its groove back.”
“New York City’s restaurant and nightlife industry has been devastated by COVID-19, and over the past two years these small businesses have endured ever changing pandemic mandates that have posed significant challenges to their operations, yet they’ve fought hard to persevere and to feed and serve our city during this time of crisis,” said Andrew Rigie, executive director, NYC Hospitality Alliance. “Now, with our city achieving a high vaccination rate, a low infection rate, and as we enter the next stage of our city’s recovery, we must continue to be safe and smart, and modify mandates as the situation evolves. That’s why it’s with optimism and the careful consideration of many that we stand in solidarity with Mayor Eric Adams, public health officials, and community leaders to lift the city’s temporary proof of vaccination mandate for indoor dining, as an important step in our resilient city’s revival.”