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‘COVID passport’ required to enter top NYC venues under new Cuomo program

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Scandal-ridden New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced a pilot program that requires a COVID-19 “passport” as a condition of entry to certain venues.

Under the plan, attendees would have to produce a so-called Excelsior Pass to establish that they’ve been vaccinated or are COVID negative. The purported secure technology developed in partnership with IBM is undergoing testing during events at Madison Square Garden, the home of the NBA New York Knicks and the NHL New York Rangers, and at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, the home of of the NBA Brooklyn Nets. It has already rolled out at a February 27 Nets game and a March 2 Rangers game.

“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’s ‘Wallet App.’ Each pass will have a secure QR code, which venues will scan using a companion app to confirm someone’s COVID health status,” a statement from Cuomo’s office explained.

The Democrat governor is now allowing large sports and entertainment locales to open at 10 percent capacity along with other safety protocols that includes a negative coronavirus test. “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,” Cuomo claimed.

In the aftermath of both the nursing home and sexual harassment scandals, the Democrat-controlled state legislature appears poised to pass a bill, however, that would scale back Cuomo’s pandemic-related emergency powers.

In general, some civil libertarians and privacy advocates have previously warned that the country is headed for COVID documents of some kind as a requirement to participate in certain activities, such as air travel.

In this context, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, noted in January 2021 that the possibility exists for the introduction of COVID-19 vaccine passports for travel to some countries or to enter certain venues.

“Everything will be on the table,” he said in an interview.

In December 2020, an Op-Ed published in the Washington Post championed immunity passports as a way to safely reopen the economy.

According to late November 2020 media reports, the International Air Transport Association, the global lobbying organization for the industry, is purportedly considering a digital health pass containing traveler vaccination history and test results as a condition of boarding a plane for international and possibly domestic transit.

In recent days, the European Union has agreed to develop a COVID-19 vaccination passport to streamline border crossings.

Robert Jonathan

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