NYC vaccine mandate loophole for performers an ‘astounding’ double standard, state senator says


NEW YORK — New Yorkers and visitors to the city have to show proof of vaccination to eat indoors, go to live performance events or even go to the gym, but a loophole has allowed entertainment performers and athletes to skirt that rule.

While every guest is required to be vaccinated to enter Madison Square Garden, whoever is on the stage, basketball court or ice rink doesn’t have to be if they’re not a city resident — and that has some folks crying foul.

The loophole recently received a high level of scrutiny after comedian and podcaster Joe Rogan, who has refused to share his vaccination status and has been accused of spreading vaccine misinformation, performed at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, The City reported.

State Sen. Brad Hoylman said Mayor Bill de Blasio’s executive order that created the Key to NYC vaccine mandate created a “double standard” that is both “astounding” and “infuriating.” He introduced legislation on Wednesday that would require out-of-state performers and athletes to adhere to the same vaccine requirements New Yorkers do.

“I think it sends a really bad message to the public, but I also think it’s dangerous. It’s dangerous to the fans; it’s dangerous to fellow performers or athletes; and it’s just generally bad for the public health,” Hoylman said.

The Democrat, who represents parts of Manhattan, said the city could close the loophole if they wanted to, but de Blasio’s administration has not moved to do so.

“The mayor has said he doesn’t think it’s a loophole. We disagree, which is why I’ve introduced this legislation,” the senator added.

A spokesperson for de Blasio’s office told PIX11 News they would review the legislation.

“We are proud to have implemented our first-in-the-nation Key to NYC vaccination program. It’s been an incredible success so far. We will review the legislation,” the spokesperson said.

The bill could be put up for a vote as early as January, when the Legislature convenes for its next session.

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