As the trend towards reopening has picked up steam in major metropolitan areas, nightlife's "new normal" is beginning to come into focus. In the immediate short term, as venues and event organizers alike are adapting to navigating a post-vaccine environment, requiring vaccination passports is expected to become much more prevalent.
Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced that venues have been permitted to scale up to 33% capacity starting May 19th. This announcement comes as 37% of New York City residents have become fully vaccinated.
Amid the successful vaccination campaign thus far, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has painted a rosy outlook. “Our plan is to fully reopen New York City on July 1st. We are ready for stores to open, for businesses to open, offices, theaters, full strength,” the Mayor declared. "This is going to be the summer of New York City."
de Blasio also mentioned that it is likely indoor venues will require some sort of documentation proving vaccination, such as the Excelsior Pass, which provides digital vaccine verification through a personal QR code.
While bars and clubs are not yet required to verify patrons are vaccinated, there are certain benefits for doing so. Per Cuomo's announcement, businesses will enjoy the benefit of being able to host events at greater scalability if they require patrons present either a negative COVID test or proof of vaccine prior to entry.
While vaccine passports may become prevalent in New York, it is ultimately up to the states on a case-by-base basis as to whether they plan to make them a requirement, according to The New York Times. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Florida recently made it illegal for businesses to require proof of vaccination in any form and have instated a financial penalty upwards of $5,000 for doing so.