Home New York City Here’s How To Prove You’re Vaccinated When Visiting New York City

Here’s How To Prove You’re Vaccinated When Visiting New York City

by joeheg

If you’re planning a trip to New York City, it’s required for anyone age 12 and over to have received at least 1 dose of a COVID vaccine to take part in any indoor activity. The requirement called the “Key to NYC” includes the following establishments.

  • Indoor dining
    • Includes restaurants, catering halls, hotel banquet rooms, bars, nightclubs, cafeterias, coffee shops, fast food restaurants, grocery stores with indoor dining and other indoor dining spaces
  • Indoor fitness
    • Includes gyms, fitness centers, fitness classes, pools, dance studios and other indoor fitness studios, such as yoga or Pilates
  •   Indoor entertainment and certain meeting spaces
    • Includes movie theaters, music and concert venues, museums, aquariums and zoos, professional sports arenas, indoor stadiums, convention centers, exhibition halls, hotel meeting and event spaces, performing arts theaters, bowling alleys, arcades, pool and billiard halls, recreational game centers, adult entertainment and indoor play areas

The Broadway League has stricter rules in place, requiring all attendees age 12 and over to be “fully vaccinated” at least 14 days before the performance. International visitors can show proof of vaccinations, including a mix-and-match regimen. Children under 12 must have received 1 dose of a COVID Vaccine 14 days before the performance OR show proof of a negative COVID test.

If you’re fully (or even partially) vaccinated, what type of proof do you need to show when entering an establishment?

According to the NYC Health website, the following are acceptable:

For proof of vaccination, you can use:

  • CDC Vaccination Card. A digital photo or photocopy of this card is also acceptable.
  • NYC Vaccination Record or other official immunization record, including from your health care provider. A digital photo or photocopy of this card is also acceptable. If you are unable to get this record, call 311.
  • NYC COVID Safe AppAndroid | iOS. You can upload to this app a photo of your CDC vaccination card or other official record, along with your photo ID.
  • CLEAR Health PassAndroid | iOS. You can use the digital vaccine card option in the CLEAR app if you are 18 and older and are fully vaccinated.
  • Excelsior Pass (or Excelsior Pass Plus). To use this app, you will need the phone number or email address associated with your New York vaccination record. If you are unable to use this app, try one of the other options listed above.

When we visited New Orleans, I carried my vaccine card in my wallet. It was the quickest way to show the information but the card shows some wear and tear from the experience. The rest of my party kept digital copies on their phones. Each time, they had to unlock the phone, open the respective app (either photos or a secure storage app) and then show the image on the phone. If they waited too long and the phone locked, they needed to repeat the process. For busier places, there was always a crowd of people at the entrance pulling up vaccine cards on their phones.

There has to be a better system.

I looked into the Excelsior Pass but it’s only for people who were fully vaccinated in the state of New York or residents vaccinated out of the state.

Instead, I’m going to try using CLEAR. I’ve entered my vaccine information into the CLEAR app and I can easily pull up a QR code or show my vaccine information. I’ll see how well it works in practice and if it’s widely accepted.

As a backup, I’m going to download the NYC COVID Safe App. It’s a simple interface where you can store a picture of your driver’s license and COVID card and have them easily accessible.

Sharon will most likely stick with the simple solution of pulling up a picture of her card on her phone.

While none of these options are quicker or easier than pulling a card out of your pocket, the government didn’t design the CDC vaccination card for that purpose. Until we figure out a better system, we have to deal with the patchwork of apps available to prove that we are vaccinated.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Aron Anderson November 18, 2021 - 6:35 pm

I, too, have settled on using the CLEAR Health Pass for my digital vaccine record, since the State of Florida doesn’t believe in having a viable alternative! I do wish I could add it to my Apple Wallet for quicker access though. The only other downside I’ve found with the CLEAR implementation is that your name and photo are on one screen, but then you have to tap through to a second screen to show your vaccination details/dates. Inevitably, the person I’m showing it to then needs to see my name again and I have to tap back to the original screen again. I wish it was all on-screen at once, as I’ve not found anyone who wants me to “share” it with them via CLEAR’s web interface option.

askmrlee (@askmrlee) December 7, 2021 - 1:52 pm

You may be able to get a SMART Health Card compatible QR code through the the vaccination provider or through your insurance company regardless of your state. The SMART health card site lists all the participating providers which includes major drug stores, hospital networks and insurance companies.


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