News Coronavirus New York to mandate vaccines for dining, gyms

New York to mandate vaccines for dining, gyms

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New York City will become the first major US city to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination at restaurants, gyms and indoor entertainment venues, Mayor Bill de Blasio says, as the nation grapples with the rapidly spreading Delta variant.

With vaccines widely available, political leaders are combating this wave with shots and masks rather than ordering businesses to close and Americans to stay home as they did last year.

The US government and several states, along with some hospitals and universities, already require employees to get inoculated. Tyson Foods on Tuesday became one of the largest private employers to require all workers be immunised to combat the virus that has killed over 600,000 in the country.

New York City’s policy requires proof of at least one dose and will be enforced starting September 13. Like mask mandates and last year’s stay-at-home orders, the plan will likely meet stiff resistance.

In France, government imposition of a nationwide health passport proving vaccination has touched off large protests, often dispersed by police using tear gas.

Government vaccine passports are deeply controversial among Americans as well, especially conservatives.

“It is time for people to see vaccination as literally necessary to living a good and full and healthy life,” de Blasio, a Democrat, told a news conference on Tuesday.

Roughly 66 per cent of all New Yorkers have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to city data. But certain areas, largely poor communities and communities of colour, have much lower vaccination rates.

The city’s announcement comes as cases surge nationwide. Florida and Louisiana have emerged as the latest hotspots, straining hospitals.