COVID-19 Update: NYC Announces Vaccine Requirements for Restaurants and Gyms; Local Governments To Determine Mask Guidelines

Date: August 19, 2021

Effective Aug. 16th, New York City restaurants, gyms, and theaters are required to obtain proof of at least one dose of the COVID vaccine for all customers and employees. Enforcement of the new policy will begin on Sept. 13th. Mayor De Blasio announced that the only way to patronize indoor dining establishments, go to the gym, or see performances is for customers to be vaccinated and establishments to require proof of vaccinations.

On Aug. 17th, New York City released official guidance on how businesses should verify proof of vaccinations for customers and employees. Indoor dining, fitness, and entertainment facilities are required to check vaccination status of all staff and customers 12 and older. Anyone 12 and older who has not received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is prohibited from entering. Businesses are permitted to make exceptions for people to use the bathroom of for another reason that will take less than 10 minutes. Businesses must also place a vaccination required poster in a location that is clearly visible to customers before they enter the premise. For more information, visit New York City’s Key to NYC guidance page.

Additionally, with the Governor no longer having emergency powers related to the COVID-19 crisis, local governments are now able to implement their own rules and guidelines as it relates to masks and CDC guidance. At this time, 33 counties meet the CDC’s threshold for the recommendation to wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status; however, no counties have taken steps to require masks for all New Yorkers in indoor settings. Individual businesses are allowed to institute their own mask requirements but no statewide or countywide mandates are currently in place.

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