To Prove Vaccination Status, Some New Yorkers Need To Update Their Excelsior Pass

New York City will soon require proof of vaccination to access indoor dining, performance venues and gyms.

Under the new “Key to NYC Pass” program, participants can use the city’s COVID SAFE app, the paper card issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the state-issued Excelsior passport.

But the last option comes with a catch for any early adopters of the technology. The app’s original version was only valid for six months from a participant’s final vaccine dose, but in late May, Governor Andrew Cuomo extended the time limit to 365 days.

If you don’t automatically see the 365-day expiration on your pass, you’ll need to reload your vaccine card via the sign-up website. New participants won’t be able to activate the Excelsior app until 15 days after they receive their final dose.

The Excelsior pass is a smartphone-based app program with a personalized QR code that verifies a person’s vaccination records via the state’s network of providers. As such, it is only available to people who received their doses in New York state. But Mayor Bill de Blasio said any state or country’s proof of vaccination will be accepted at the city’s restaurants, gyms and entertainment venues.

“So long as that proof is accurate and real wherever it comes from, that’s what they’ll need to show,” de Blasio said at a press briefing Tuesday.

Yet despite only being a few days old, the reliability of the city’s vaccine pass is already being questioned, as it can be easily spoofed by random photos.

By contrast, the Excelsior pass is built using blockchain technology, the same platform used to secure transactions of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Many venues in the city have adopted the Excelsior pass to screen attendees, including Madison Square Garden, Barclays Center, Yankee Stadium and Citi Field.

Both the Excelsior pass and the COVID Safe app can document COVID test results, though these will not be accepted under the Key to NYC program.

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