A new digital vaccine pass has been launched in New York, and it aims to help to restart music, sport, dining and other events currently operating with capacity limitations due to COVID-19.

The digital Excelsior Pass is a free, voluntary platform developed in partnership with IBM to confirm an individual's recent negative PCR or antigen test result or proof of vaccination. It is hoped that it will help to fast-track the reopening of businesses and event venues in accordance with New York State Department of Health guidelines. Similar to a mobile airline boarding pass, the holder will be able to either print out their pass or store it on their smartphone using the Excelsior Pass Wallet app.

Intersection of Broadway, 5th Ave. & 23rd St. in New York City
The pass will help to fast-track the reopening of businesses and event venues © Barry Winiker/Getty Images

Each pass will have a secure QR code, which participating businesses and venues can scan using a companion app to verify proof of COVID-19 negative test results or proof of vaccination. As part of its initial launch, Excelsior Pass can be used by participating New Yorkers at theaters, major stadiums and arenas, wedding receptions and catered events, including Madison Square Garden and the Times Union Center. Beginning 2 April, Excelsior Pass will expand to smaller arts, entertainment and event venues.

"The innovative Excelsior Pass is another tool in our new toolbox to fight the virus while allowing more sectors of the economy to reopen safely and keeping personal information secure," says Governor Andrew Cuomo. "The question of 'public health or the economy' has always been a false choice — the answer must be both. As more New Yorkers get vaccinated each day and as key public health metrics continue to regularly reach their lowest rates in months, the first-in-the-nation Excelsior Pass heralds the next step in our thoughtful, science-based reopening."

Further information on the Excelsior Pass can be found on the website here.

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