The United States Contributes USD $223 Million to Help World Food Programme (WFP) Save Lives and Stave Off Severe Hunger in South SudanRead more Eritrea: World Breastfeeding WeekRead more Eritrean community festival in Scandinavian countriesRead more IOM: Uptick in Migrants Heading Home as World Rebounds from COVID-19Read more Network International & Infobip to offer WhatsApp for Business Banking Services to Financial Institution Clients across AfricaRead more Ambassador Jacobson Visits Gondar in the Amhara Region to Show Continued U.S. Support for the Humanitarian and Development Needs of EthiopiansRead more Voluntary Repatriation of Refugees from Angola to DR Congo ResumesRead more Senegal and Mauritania Are Rich in Resources, Poor in Infrastructure, Now Is the Time to Change That Read more Madinat Jumeirah: Dubai’s Stunning Four Hotel Beach Resort Offers Unirvalled Benefits for Summer StaycationsRead more Measles: EU Provides €450,000 in Humanitarian Response to Measles Outbreaks in SomaliaRead more

‘No-brainer’ or ‘un-American’? New York starts vaccine mandate

show caption
A woman waits to go in a restaurant in New York's Upper West Side on August 17, 2021, the first day where you have to show proof of having a Covid-19 vaccination to participate in indoor dining./AFP
Print Friendly and PDF

Aug 18, 2021 - 10:09 AM

NEW YORK — Clutching vaccination cards and personalized QR codes, New Yorkers showed proof of inoculation against Covid-19 to enter restaurants, gyms and movie theaters Tuesday as America’s first city-wide vaccine mandate got underway.

The policy — announced by Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio earlier this month — comes as the United States steps up vaccine requirements to help fight the hyper-contagious Delta variant.

“It’s a no-brainer,” said 33-year-old Casey Shane at a fitness center in Manhattan, where he presented his state-issued vaccine “pass” on his phone before working out.

“If you want to do the things that you love to do then this is what you need to do, not only to keep yourself safe but your fellow community members safe too,” added the actor.

New York is the first city in the United States to demand evidence of at least one vaccine shot to access indoor dining, bars and nightclubs, entertainment venues and museums.

Establishments have until September 13 to comply, after which they face $1,000 fines. Children under 12 are exempt because they are not currently eligible for vaccines.

“This is the way we bring back our city fully,” de Blasio told reporters Tuesday.

With enforcement a month away, the mandate appeared to start slowly but many businesses said they were on board.

A sign on the door of a New York Sports Club gym on the Upper West Side said it would make “no exceptions” for unvaccinated patrons, guests and staff. “NO PROOF, NO ENTRY,” screamed the notice.

“Our members are regulars. They know, and they just do it,” said manager Michelle Weed. “For the most part, we haven’t had to remove anybody.”

Texas ban 

Many New Yorkers remain traumatized by the pandemic which has killed more than 33,000 residents since it swept the city of more than eight million last spring.

Some 74 percent of adults have received at least one vaccine dose, official figures show.

Seventeen-year-old Thisbe said she felt safer watching a movie knowing everyone in the audience was vaccinated like her.

“Unvaccinated people cannot come in, but it’s their choice,” she said outside a theater in Greenwich Village.

Not everybody spoken to by AFP supported New York’s mandate, though, while some business owners fear it could turn people off.

“It’s nonsense,” said 47-year-old Samuel, who is vaccinated but believes it should be a personal choice.

“It’s un-American. I don’t like being forced to do something,” he added, while eating lunch at an Irish pub in Manhattan.

Other cities have followed New York’s lead, including San Francisco, which will demand proof of full vaccination from August 20.

At the opposite end of the spectrum are cities in Texas, which have been banned by their Republican governor from mandating vaccines.

Alton Thibodeaux, 74, and his wife Jean eagerly held their paper vaccination cards as they waited to have lunch at a French restaurant in New York.

They were visiting from Louisiana, which has one of America’s lowest vaccine rates, and would like to see more cities adopt mandates.

“I think that’s the only way we’re ever gonna get rid of it,” said Thibodeaux, who is retired.

“It shouldn’t be a political issue or anything like that, just get it and get this over with and everything will be fine.”

MAORANDCITIES.COM uses both Facebook and Disqus comment systems to make it easier for you to contribute. We encourage all readers to share their views on our articles and blog posts. All comments should be relevant to the topic. By posting, you agree to our Privacy Policy. We are committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion, so we ask you to avoid personal attacks, name-calling, foul language or other inappropriate behavior. Please keep your comments relevant and respectful. By leaving the ‘Post to Facebook’ box selected – when using Facebook comment system – your comment will be published to your Facebook profile in addition to the space below. If you encounter a comment that is abusive, click the “X” in the upper right corner of the Facebook comment box to report spam or abuse. You can also email us.