NY Considering ‘COVID Passports’ to Fast-Track Reopening

People get the COVID-19 vaccination shot in Rochester. (Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the state is creating a pilot program of utilizing “coronavirus passports” to allow people who have been vaccinated or tested negative to participate in indoor events.

These will allow the state to reopen businesses and events more quickly, confident they are complying with health guidelines. As the state continues vaccinating its residents, with 15% of New Yorkers receiving at least one shot, the state is focusing on encouraging the economy, which was devastated by the pandemic.

The Excelsior Pass would be similar to an airplane boarding pass: People can either print them or open them in an app on their phone, and they will be scanned at the venue to confirm the person’s health status and determine if it is safe for them to enter.

The technology was developed with IBM, as opposed to relying on a third-party platform that would delay processing time.

“As we begin reopening the valves on different sectors of our economy, we are putting guidelines in place to ensure individuals attending events involving larger gatherings have tested negative for COVID or have been vaccinated to avoid an outbreak of the virus,” the governor said in a statement. “The Excelsior Pass will play a critical role in getting information to venues and sites in a secure and streamlined way, allowing us to fast-track the reopening of these businesses and getting us one step closer to reaching a new normal.”



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