NYC Mayor Says You Can Dine at Restaurants Right After First COVID Shot

Mayor Bill de Blasio provided further guidance on the Key to NYC program.

Vaccine requirements have become a standard part of life, as some companies, states, and establishments have implemented various rules and safety protocols for entry. Generally, any place with any vaccine requirement in place is asking for people to be fully vaccinated or have at least received their first shot. This includes New York City, where entrants into gyms, restaurants, concerts, and other indoor venues must show proof of vaccination or a negative covid test as part of the city’s Key to NYC program.

While the city's vaccine mandate began in a transition period on August 16, it will be fully enforced starting September 13.  But according to Mayor Bill de Blasio, the requirements for New York City are more flexible than previously thought. In a press conference on August 31, de Blasio said that people who are denied entry to establishments due to their lack of vaccination could go and get their first shot and return right away.

“Let’s say someone goes to a restaurant and they didn’t know about the rule,” de Blasio said during his daily press briefing. “They really want to go to the restaurant and they’re ready to get vaccinated... You can literally go to that vaccination site, get your first shot, get your card, come back, go to that restaurant, go to that movie theater, go to that concert.”

If this sounds odd compared to previous understandings about vaccine requirements, especially single-shot requirements, others have also criticized the policy.

“The science doesn’t support, ‘Let me run over to a CVS, get vaccinated and come back and have my lobster or salad,'” a former city Health Department official named Dr. Anthony Santella told the New York Post. “You should really be living your life as an unvaccinated person until you’re 14 days after your second shot.”

Two of the vaccines, Moderna and Pfizer, require two shots weeks apart and an additional two weeks after the second shot to be effective, and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine takes two weeks after the single shot.

Mayor de Blasio acknowledges that the Key to NYC program doesn’t require full vaccination status but says it’s a good start. “We just want people to get going on vaccination,” de Blasio said.

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Opheli Garcia Lawler is a staff writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.