Your Papers, Please: New York Introduces “Vaccine Passport” For Events, Businesses

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced a “vaccine passport” that New Yorkers can use to prove vaccination or history of a negative Covid-19 test.

The program, called the “Excelsior Pass,” is an app that is not mandatory.

“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,” the state news release said.

“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.”

No health information will be revealed when scanned. A green checkmark or red “X” will be the only identifiers.

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Madison Square Garden and the Times Union Center in Albany are among the venues that will begin using the app next week. On April 2, Excelsior Pass will expand to “smaller arts, entertainment and event venues.

“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,” Cuomo said in a statement.

“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.”

The app uses blockchain technology and encryption to ensure security and immutability.

New Yorker residents can register by downloading the app and inputting personal information to verify their identity. The app will pull data from the state’s vaccine registry and a number of pre-approved Covid-19 testing companies.

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