New Yorkers will be required to show “vaccine passports” — proof that they have received the COVID-19 vaccine — in order to re-enter society.
The New York Post reported that the “Excelsior Pass” would officially launch on April 2, following an announcement from Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday.
“Similar to a mobile airline boarding pass, individuals will be able to either print out their pass or store it on their smartphones using the Excelsior Pass Wallet app,” said a press release about the program. “Each Pass will have a secure QR code, which participating businesses and venues can scan using a companion app to verify proof of COVID-19 negative test results or proof of vaccination. An individual’s data is kept secure and confidential at all times.”
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The app won’t show any health information when scanned — it’ll only show a green checkmark if the person has been vaccinated or tested negatively or a red “x” if they haven’t.
Major venues, such as Madison Square Garden and the Times Union Center in Albany, will begin using the app next week and on April 2, Excelsior Pass will expand to “smaller arts, entertainment and event venues,” Cuomo’s office said.
The app, which launched Friday, already works to prove vaccination status or negative test results and can be used to gain access to wedding receptions, which now require negative tests from attendees, and other events above the social gathering limit.
In a statement, Cuomo said: “New Yorkers have proven they can follow public health guidance to beat back COVID, and the innovative Excelsior Pass is another tool in our new toolbox to fight the virus while allowing more sectors of the economy to reopen safely and keeping personal information secure.”
“The question of ‘public health or the economy’ has always been a false choice — the answer must be both. As more New Yorkers get vaccinated each day and as key public health metrics continue to regularly reach their lowest rates in months, the first-in-the-nation Excelsior Pass heralds the next step in our thoughtful, science-based reopening,” he added.
As The Daily Wire’s Joe Curl previously reported, the program was announced earlier this month and was tested at a New York Rangers game at Madison Square Garden on March 2.
At the time, Cuomo said, “We’re doing everything we can to vaccinate as many New Yorkers as possible, as quickly as possible, while keeping the infection rate down and re-energizing our economy in a safe, smart way.”
“As we begin reopening the valves on different sectors of our economy, we are putting guidelines in place to ensure individuals attending events involving larger gatherings have tested negative for COVID or have been vaccinated to avoid an outbreak of the virus. The Excelsior Pass will play a critical role in getting information to venues and sites in a secure and streamlined way, allowing us to fast-track the reopening of these businesses and getting us one step closer to reaching a new normal,” he continued.
Cuomo also stressed that the vaccine passes would protect users’ privacy.
“Robust privacy protections are woven throughout the digital health pass solution, giving individuals a secure, verifiable and trusted way to maintain control of their personal health information using an encrypted digital smartphone wallet or printed credential. Each participant will be able to determine if they would like to use it — and if so, what passes they wish to use for which purpose — all without sharing their underlying personal data. User data is always kept completely confidential, and participation is voluntary. The QR code only informs the venue if a pass is valid or invalid,” said a press release for the program.