NEW YORKERS can sign up for the nation’s first “vaccine passport” that would offer proof of their vaccination status or a recent history of a negative Covid-19 test.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the program, monikered the “Excelsior Pass,” during a news release on Friday, saying it would be an app that New Yorkers can show to gain entry to events and businesses.
“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 press release reads.
“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,” the release promised.
The app won’t be able to show health information when it’s scanned. Rather, it’ll show a simple green checkmark to show if the person has been vaccinated or tested negatively.
If not? A red “x” marks the spot.
Arenas, businesses, and venues such as Madison Square Garden and the Times Union Center in Albany will begin using the app next week.
On April 2, the Excelsior Pass will expand to “smaller arts, entertainment and event venues,” the governor’s office said.
The Excelsior Pass launched Friday and already has been tested to show vaccination status and negative results. It’s currently being used to gain access to wedding receptions that require negative tests from attendees.
“New Yorkers have proven they can follow public health guidance to beat back Covid,” Cuomo said in a statement.
“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.”
“The question of ‘public health or the economy’ has always been a false choice — the answer must be both,” he continued.
“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.”
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The app uses blockchain technology and encryption to ensure the health information is securely stored.
And it’s working: New Yorkers can enroll by downloading the app and inputting personal information to verify their identity.
The app would then pool data from the state’s vaccine registry and a number of pre-approved Covid-19 testing companies.