If William Kinkao wants to continue working out at Better Body Bootcamp in Bayside, Queens, he will soon have to provide proof he has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I’m just surprised. It’s up to individual people if they want to do it or not. It’s not mandatory to get it. But it’s kind of, if you don’t get it, you can’t do anything,” Kinkao said.
The new restrictions are part of what the de Blasio administration is calling the Key to NYC Pass.
“I want you to imagine the notion that because someone's vaccinated, they can do all the amazing things that are available in this city. This is a miraculous place, literally full of wonders. And, if you're vaccinated, all that's going to open up to you. You'll have the key. You can open the door. But, if you're unvaccinated, unfortunately, you will not be able to participate in many things,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
The restrictions are the first of their kind in the nation. The plan requires both employees and customers at indoor restaurants, gyms and entertainment facilities, including Broadway, to show proof of vaccination. Patrons will have to use an app or show their paper vaccine cards.
Kaiser Serajuddin, who owns Better Body Bootcamp, said the vaccine is working to keep people protected. But he doesn’t think the city’s plan will convince anyone who’s unvaccinated to get the jab.
“At this point, we’re several months in. If you wanted to get vaccinated, it’s easy to access, there’s a lot of incentives to do it, so you would have done it,” Serajuddin said.
Currently, about 63 percent of the city’s population has had at least one shot. Serajuddin said with those numbers, he thinks his business will take another hit. He estimates about 40% of his customers have yet to come back to the gym. He also expects people will travel outside of the city for activities instead of getting vaccinated.
“We have a location just two miles away, believe it or not, right over the border in Nassau, like literally feet away. So, members that come here and go to there, there’s going to be two totally different sets of rules,” Serajuddin said.
The mayor said the program will start on Monday, August 16. After a transition period, enforcement will begin on September 13, which coincides with the first day of school.