New York City is expanding its vaccine mandate to new entertainment and cultural institutions, including now casinos.
Starting on Tuesday, August 18, both visitors and staff will be required to show proof of having received at least their first Covid-19 shot to access the facilities, reports Bloomberg. However, inspections and enforcement will not start until Sept. 13, giving time to learn the new rules.
The measure was announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio during a briefing on Monday, and expands earlier vaccine requirements under the “Key to NYC” program, which mandated vaccination for entry to indoor settings such as bars, restaurants and fitness facilities.
Other venues covered by the rules further include museums, stadiums, movie theaters and concert halls.
“We want people to enjoy the fullness of the city but you’ve got to have a vaccine to do it,” said the Mayor during a news conference.
It is expected that the updated program will persuade people to get immunized, especially among young people. Businesses will be required to check vaccination status of all staff and visitors over age 12, with noncompliance leading to fines, ranging from $1.000 to $5.000.
“We know this is going to reach hundreds of thousands of people, convince them it’s time. We know one of the biggest reasons this is going to work is that New Yorkers, we love our arts, our culture, entertainment, restaurants; we love all these things,” further added de Blasio.
New York has failed to reach its June goal of fully vaccinating 5 million people, despite incentives including $100 gift cards. Only 4.7 million people are fully vaccinated according to the latest city data. Other mandates taken to further persuade people include a requirement for all public works to get the vaccine by Sept. 10 or submit to weekly testing.
In the past week, other mayors, including San Francisco and New Orleans, have joined New York City with orders for bars, restaurants, gyms and other businesses.
Casinos throughout the country have started taking measures against Covid-19, mostly by reinstating mask policy, although bans on guests who aren’t inoculated has still not seen widespread enforcement.
During the last week, New Orleans became the first Southern city to require private businesses to ban non-inoculated guests, including land-based casinos and racetracks, enforcement starting on August 23.