May I see some ID, please?

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a strict new COVID mandate, including proof of vaccination, for those who want to dine or drink indoors, go to the gym and other social events in New York City starting Tuesday.

While the mandate, the first of its kind in the US, will not be formally enforced until September 13, the mayor said the so-called Key to NYC program would require anyone who wants to eat inside or attend indoor events to show proof of vaccination.

“There are so many amazing things that you can experience in this city if you are vaccinated,” de Blasio said. “We want you to enjoy the fullness of the city but you have to be vaccinated.”

De Blasio said the purpose of the program is to make it safe for vaccinated people to keep enjoying a normal life and to encourage people to get the jab.

“This is going to motivate a lot of people to get vaccinated,” de Blasio said. “It’s going to be a reason to get vaccinated particularly for young people.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio – Richard Drew/AP

Under the new rules, anyone who wants to eat indoors or attend other indoor events will have to show proof of vaccination, either in the form of a paper vaccination record or a digital record like the New York State Excelsior Pass that verifies vaccination status or negative test results.

The rules will also cover virtually all indoor activities including bars, museums, concert halls and even strip clubs.

Workers at the affected venues will also be required to be vaccinated.

De Blasio framed the rules as a way to give the majority of New Yorkers who are vaccinated more freedom to safely experience everything the city has to offer without fear of infection from the virulent delta variant of COVID-19.

“Vaccination allows you to enjoy all that’s good in life,” he said.

He predicted that the rules would actually encourage more people to go out to eat and drink.

“People prefer to go in an environment in which they can feel safer,” de Blasio said.

He said unvaccinated people will still be able to eat outdoors and take part in other outdoor activities, although he stressed that the city might tighten rules in the future.

David Burke, a celebrity chef who owns three Manhattan restaurants, predicted the new vaccine rules would push some who have not been vaccinated to get off the fence.