KEY TO NYC: PROOF OF COVID-19 VACCINATION – WHAT NYC BUSINESSES AND EMPLOYERS NEED TO KNOW

Updated: Aug 30, 2021

Within the City of New York, as of August 17, employees and customers 12 and older must exhibit proof of at least one dose of an authorized covid-19 Vaccine for the following businesses:

  • Indoor Dining: This includes restaurants, catering halls, event spaces, hotel banquet rooms, bars, nightclubs, cafeterias, grocery stores with indoor dining, coffee shops and fast food or quick service with indoor dining

  • Indoor Fitness: This includes gyms, fitness centers, fitness classes, pools, indoor studios and dance studio

  • Indoor Entertainment: This Includes movie theaters, music and concert venues, museums and galleries, aquariums and zoos, professional sports arenas, indoor stadiums, convention centers, exhibition halls, performing arts theaters, bowling alleys, arcades, pool and billiard halls, recreational game centers, adult entertainment and indoor play areas

The following forms of proof of vaccination will satisfy this new requirement :

  • CC Vaccination Card (or photo or photocopy)

  • NYC Vaccination Record (or other official immunization record

  • The NYC COVID safe APP – allows for upload of CDC vaccination card, other official record, and a photo ID.

  • The Excelsior Pass App.

Business within NYC must also posted the mandatory COVID Vaccine poster. Businesses must accept all valid proofs of vaccination, including official immunization records from countries outside of the U.S.


If a customer cannot show proof of vaccination, employers must engage in a good faith, cooperative dialogue or discussion to determine if a reasonable accommodation is possible. For example, the NYC guidelines provide that businesses are able to allow patrons to enter for small amounts of time (guidelines suggest less than 10 minutes) for purposes such as using the bathroom. All brief visitations should require the individual to wear a mask and maintain six feet of distance between themselves and all other persons.


Other examples of accommodations may include allowing customer takeout, allowing customers to join a class virtually, or speaking to a sales agent by phone. Many restaurants have taken to providing exterior ordering and delivery stations, for example.

Likewise, if an employee requests an exception or requests additional time to obtain proof of vaccination due to a disability., pregnancy, religious belief, or their status as a victim of either domestic abuse, stalking or a sex offense, employers must engage in the interactive process and offer a reasonable accommodation if possible. This can include working remotely, performing duties outside or in isolation, or taking a leave of absence.

In the case of either an employee or a customer, you need not allow for an accommodation if it would cause a direct threat to other customers or employees, or impose an undue hardship.

The process for compliance with NYC’s new regulations largely mirror compliance with state, federal, and other city laws related to disability and other human rights accommodations. When engaging in the interactive process, employers may offer accommodations, so long as they are reasonable, other than the specific accommodations requested by the customer or employee


Helpful Links when researching NYC's upcoming vaccination proof requirement may include:


NYC mandatory COVID poster

NYC Vaccination Proof for Indoor Activities information

Key to NYC Fact Sheet


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