Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday the rollout of a new pilot program in which New Yorkers would have to flash a sort of COVID-19 passport in order to enter sports arenas, theaters and other businesses as the state continues reopening efforts.
The plan is to test the “Excelsior Pass,” which will use secure technology to confirm if a person has gotten vaccinated or has had a recent negative COVID-19 exam result, during events at Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center, Cuomo said in a statement.
The pass was tested at Tuesday night’s New York Rangers game at Madison Square Garden.
Similar to an airline boarding pass, people will be able to print out their pass or save it on their phones 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 a person’s health status.
“We’re doing everything we can to vaccinate as many New Yorkers as possible, as quickly as possible, while keeping the infection rate down and re-energizing our economy in a safe, smart way,” Cuomo said.
“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,” he added.
MSG Entertainment praised the pilot program, saying, “We applaud Governor Cuomo’s leadership in reopening New York. The Excelsior Pass program, along with his decision to allow venues to begin welcoming fans, will play important roles in helping to get our City back on its feet.”
Last Tuesday, Nets and Knicks fans were able to watch their favorite teams play on the basketball court for the first time in nearly a year.
That was made possible after Cuomo said in early February that large sports and entertainment venues with at least a 10,000-person capacity can reopen with a 10 percent capacity limit starting Feb. 23, and people will only be allowed to enter if they produce a negative COVID-19 test.