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New York mandates COVID-19 vaccines to enter all restaurants, gyms in 1st for U.S.

Click to play video: 'NYC becomes 1st U.S. city to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter restaurants, gyms, indoor businesses' NYC becomes 1st U.S. city to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter restaurants, gyms, indoor businesses
WATCH: NYC becomes 1st U.S. city to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter restaurants, gyms, indoor businesses – Aug 3, 2021

New York City will become the first major U.S. city to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination for customers and staff at restaurants, gyms and other indoor businesses as the country enters a new phase of battling the highly contagious Delta variant.

The announcement is the latest in a string of initiatives aimed at encouraging more residents to get vaccinated as the Delta variant spreads in the nation’s most populous city.

“We know this is what’s going to turn the tide,” de Blasio told a news conference.

Read more: Can U.S. employers require COVID-19 vaccination? Here are the ones cracking down

Click to play video: 'Biden says it’s ‘still a question’ whether federal government can mandate vaccines for everyone' Biden says it’s ‘still a question’ whether federal government can mandate vaccines for everyone
Biden says it’s ‘still a question’ whether federal government can mandate vaccines for everyone – Jul 29, 2021

About 60 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 lower vaccination rates.

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The policy will be enforced starting Sept. 13. It is similar to measures taken in France to curtail the spread of coronavirus.

As part of the initiative, the city is creating the “Key to NYC Pass” to provide proof of vaccination to workers and patrons at fitness centres, restaurants and entertainment venues, the mayor said.

The announcement comes on the heels of several steps taken by city officials to encourage still reluctant residents to get their shots, including a mandate for city employees to get vaccinated or face weekly testing.

Click to play video: 'New York City requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination for some indoor settings' New York City requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination for some indoor settings
New York City requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination for some indoor settings – Aug 3, 2021

On Monday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo had urged bars, restaurants and other private businesses to require that customers be vaccinated before they can enter.

De Blasio, however, has stopped short of mandating face coverings in public indoor settings, saying instead it was strongly recommended.

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The highly contagious Delta variant has been wreaking havoc across the United States, leading to a worrisome increase in infections and hospitalizations.

Florida and Louisiana were at or near their highest hospitalization numbers of the coronavirus pandemic this week, as one doctor warned of the “darkest days” yet.

Read more: California, NYC to require employees to get COVID-19 vaccine or face testing

More than 11,300 patients were hospitalized in Florida as of Tuesday, accounting for nearly a quarter of the country’s hospitalized COVID patients, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Louisiana was also dealing with one of the worst outbreaks in the nation, prompting Governor John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, to order residents to wear masks again indoors.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican, has taken the opposite stance. He issued an executive order last week barring schools from requiring face coverings, saying parents should make that decision for their children.

Click to play video: 'Navigating vaccination status and safety in the workplace' Navigating vaccination status and safety in the workplace
Navigating vaccination status and safety in the workplace – Jul 16, 2021

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