Governor Andrew Cuomo announces ‘vaccine passports’ for New Yorkers
Noah David Alter | The Post Millennial
Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday that the state is testing the “Excelsior Pass,” a coronavirus passport which will be required for entry into stadiums, theaters, and businesses in New York state.
“Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a pilot program to test the Excelsior Pass during events at Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center,” the statement reads. “[The] Excelsior Pass will use proven, secure technology to confirm an individual’s vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test through a confidential data transfer to help fast-track the reopening of theaters, stadiums and other businesses in accordance with New York State guidelines.”
The statement says that the coronavirus passport was successfully tested at a Brooklyn Nets game at Barclays Center at the end of February.
The passport will modeled similarly to a boarding pass at airports, whereby holders of the pass can either print the pass or store it on their smartphones. A QR scanner will determine whether the individual is able to enter a given area.
“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,” Governor Cuomo said. “The Excelsior Pass will play a critical role in getting information to venues and sites in a secure and streamlined way.”
Cuomo further said that the pass will allow New Yorkers to more quickly reach a “new normal.”
“This solution can provide New York, and other states, a simple, secure, and voluntary method for showing proof of a negative COVID-19 test result or certification of vaccination,” said IBM general manager Steve LaFleche. IBM is one of the companies which helped develop the coronavirus passport with the state of New York.
The move from Cuomo comes as his state legislature is considering a motion to strip him of his emergency powers in response to several scandals which have plagued his administration in recent weeks. It is unclear whether Cuomo will be capable of enforcing a coronavirus passport system after his emergency powers are stripped. The legislative vote could come as soon as Friday.
The calls to strip Cuomo of such powers comes after it was revealed that his office intentionally underreported the number of coronavirus-related deaths in nursing homes to avoid political attacks from former President Donald Trump during the 2020 presidential election. It also comes after Cuomo was accused by three separate women, two of whom former aides, of sexual harassment.