COVID vaccine mandate for Key to NYC expands to include kids 5 and older

Coronavirus

NEW YORK — New York City’s proof of COVID vaccine requirement for indoor restaurants, gyms and entertainment venues expanded to include children as young as 5 years old on Tuesday.

Parents or guardians will have to show proof of vaccination for children between the ages of 5 and 11 along with their own vaccine card before they can enter any business that falls under the Key to NYC mandate.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the expansion last week and urged parents to get their eligible children vaccinated.

“I urge parents really strongly, get that vaccination. It’s safe. It’s been proven. Here’s another incentive to do it,” the mayor had said.

The Key to NYC mandate will expand again later this month. Beginning Dec. 27, anyone 12 and older will have to show proof of a second dose — except those who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine — in order to enter indoor restaurants, gyms, theaters and other entertainment venues. The city’s initial mandate only required proof of a first vaccine dose to gain entry.

The broadened vaccine mandate comes amid a concerning spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations around the state.

To combat the surge in cases, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul issued a new statewide mask mandate for indoor public spaces that don’t require proof of full vaccination to enter. However, the governor said on Tuesday that New York City businesses that fall under the Key to NYC mandate will be allowed a grace period until the expanded rules go into effect on Dec. 27.

Hochul said she wanted to give already struggling businesses a little flexiblity with the dueling mandates.

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