Here’s How New York’s Controversial COVID-19 ‘Passport’ Works


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New Yorkers will soon be forced to use a COVID-19 passport to go into businesses, sports arenas, and large venue events.

Governor Cuomo (NY-D) first announced at the State of the State address that New York will be rolling out the Excelsior Pass, developed with IBM. The Excelsior Pass will function similarly to an encrypted mobile airline boarding pass. The secure QR code will contain the app user’s COVID-19 vaccine data or negative test results. The partner app will only tell the business, arena, or venue owner whether the pass is “valid” or not.

The Excelsior Pass passed its pilot test at the Barclays Center during a Brooklyn Nets game and again at Madison Square Garden during a New York Rangers game on March 2nd. After a few more adjustments, the Pass will be available in the Apple and Google app stores.

Arenas with a 10,000-person capacity are the only large venues able to reopen currently and they can only allow 10% capacity. New York COVID-19 restrictions still apply, and for a patron’s Excelsior Pass to be read as “valid,” New Yorkers need to have a negative test result at least 72 hours before the game.

When they arrive they are then required to take a rapid result COVID test before they can go to their assigned seating.

According to NBC New York, “Going to any game won’t be cheap: The bare minimum costs to attend [a] Nets game for now will be $200, just for the costs of the tests. And that’s completely separate from the cost of the ticket.”

MSG Entertainment offered their support for the plan, stating, “We applaud Governor Cuomo’s leadership in reopening New York. The Excelsior Pass program, along with his decision to allow venues to begin welcoming fans, will play important roles in helping to get our City back on its feet.”

Governor Cuomo (NY-D) has been drowning under his multiple scandals recently, the most notable being that he hid data from the Department of Justice that his policies led to nearly 13,000 elderly deaths. State legislators decided to pass a bill Tuesday to repeal all of his sweeping, temporary emergency powers. By joint resolution, the lawmakers will be the ones to make directives for the state of New York.

The European Union would like to implement a similar digital pass to allow E.U. citizens to travel for work and pleasure.

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