Report by Paula Antolini, April 1, 2021, 3:17PM EDT
“Participation is voluntary” reads the description of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s recent approval of the “Excelsior Passport”, a passport that will be needed to enter sporting events, art performances, or travel, and more, proving you were vaccinated or had negative test for COVID-19.
“Anyone vaccinated or tested for COVID-19 in the State of New York is eligible for a Pass, and there are currently three different types of Passes: COVID-19 Vaccination Pass, COVID-19 PCR Test Pass and COVID-19 Antigen Test Pass,” the NY State COVID-19 “Excelsior Pass” page reads.
“Participation is voluntary” it reads, BUT you cannot enter venues or travel unless you get vaccinated and show proof?
HERE IS THE OVERVIEW from Gov. Cuomo:
“Get Back to Your Favorite Businesses and Venues with Digital Proof of Your COVID-19 Vaccination or Negative Test Results
“Attend sporting events, arts performances and more! Excelsior Pass supports a safe reopening of New York by providing a free, fast and secure way to present digital proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative test results. Think of it as a mobile airline boarding pass, but for proving you received a COVID-19 vaccination or negative test.
“:You can store your Pass digitally on your smartphone with the Excelsior Pass Wallet app, available for free from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. You can also print your Pass from the Excelsior Pass website and bring it with you.
“Businesses and venues can scan and validate your pass to ensure you meet any COVID-19 vaccination or testing requirements for entry. Along with your Pass, you’ll be asked to show a photo ID that shows your name and birth date to verify that the Pass belongs to you. Adults may hold passes for accompanying minors.
“Once you and your party enter an establishment, you will still be asked to follow State and CDC guidance regarding social distancing, face coverings and hand hygiene.
“Participation in Excelsior Pass is voluntary. New Yorkers can always show alternate proof of vaccination or testing, like another mobile application or paper form, directly at a business or venue.”
GOVERNOR CUOMO’S ANNOUNCEMENT THIS WEEK:
Digital Pass Offers Free, Voluntary Way to Share COVID-19 Vaccination or Negative COVID-19 Test Status in Accordance with New York State Guidelines
Proven, Secure Technology Developed in Partnership with IBM Following Successful Pilot
As Part of Initial Launch, Excelsior Pass Can Be Used by Participating New Yorkers at Theaters, Major Stadiums and Arenas, Weddings Receptions, Catered Events & Other Events in Accordance with New York State Guidelines
Madison Square Garden and Times Union Center to Implement Excelsior Pass; Additional Locations Will Begin Utilizing this Platform as Program Expands
Interested New Yorkers Can Opt In to Use Excelsior Pass and Learn More Here; Interested Businesses Can Opt In and Learn More Here
Images of Excelsior Pass are Available Here
Initiative First Announced in Governor’s 2021 State of the State Address:
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the launch of Excelsior Pass — a free, voluntary platform developed in partnership with IBM, which utilizes proven, secure technology to confirm an individual’s recent negative PCR or antigen test result or proof of vaccination to help 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, individuals will be able to either print out their pass or store it on their smartphones using the Excelsior Pass Wallet app. 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. An individual’s data is kept secure and confidential at all times.
As part of this initial launch, participating New Yorkers may choose to use Excelsior Pass to verify their COVID-19 vaccination or negative test results as needed to gain entry to major stadiums and arenas, wedding receptions, or catered and other events above the social gathering limit. Interested New Yorkers can opt in to use Excelsior Pass and learn more here; interested businesses can opt in and learn more here. Major venues have already announced they will begin utilizing this technology in the coming weeks, including Madison Square Garden in New York City beginning next week and the Times Union Center in Albany. Beginning April 2, Excelsior Pass will expand to smaller arts, entertainment and event venues.
“New Yorkers have proven they can follow public health guidance to beat back COVID, and 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,” Governor Cuomo said. “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.”
New York State is the first state in the U.S. to formally launch this potentially transformational technology. Prior to its launch, two successful pilot demonstrations were held in recent weeks, along with a beta test where thousands of New Yorkers participated in a limited roll out of the technology to provide feedback on user interface and results.
Interested New Yorkers can download the Excelsior Pass Wallet app for Android here and for iOS here. Interested businesses can download the Excelsior Pass Scanner app for Android here and for iOS here.
Steve LaFleche, General Manager, IBM Public and Federal Markets, said, “IBM is proud to support the State of New York with its efforts to apply innovative technologies to help residents and communities respond to COVID-19. In choosing a flexible and accessible tool that places security and privacy at its core, the state is modeling for the rest of the country how new, technology-enabled approaches can help safely reinvigorate economies while also striving to protect public health.”
Excelsior Pass is built on IBM’s Digital Health Pass solution and is designed to enable the secure verification of health credentials such as test results and vaccination records without the need to share underlying medical and personal information. The technology is flexible and built to scale, allowing other states to join and help foster a safer, trusted transition to a post-pandemic reality. The pass can also be printed and is complementary to other types of proof that patrons can use, reducing any barriers to usage.
A special emphasis has been placed on the protection of an individual’s privacy. Secure technologies, like blockchain and encryption, are woven throughout Excelsior Pass to help protect the data, making it verifiable and trusted. No private health data is stored or tracked within the apps. Excelsior Pass can be used to voluntarily show a QR code as proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative test result via a digital smartphone wallet or printed credential without sharing underlying personal health details.
Multiple security systems are in place to ensure the integrity of personal health information. Excelsior Pass was designed with equity and equal access at the forefront. With multi-language access, a robust Help Desk, and multiple ways to use Excelsior Pass — whether you have a smartphone or not — New York is committed to ensuring that all New Yorkers can participate in the safe, convenient and responsible reopening of our economy.
The following set of labs have committed to rapid reporting of COVID test results to the State Department of Health’s Electronic Clinical Laboratory Reporting System (ECLRS), which will help ensure that Excelsior Pass users are able to receive their testing results in the required window of time before an event: Acutis Diagnostics, Aegis Sciences Corporation, BioReference Laboratories, Boston Heart Diagnostics, Broad Institute, Cayuga Medical Center, Clarity Lab Solutions, Lenco Diagnostic Laboratories, The Mount Sinai Hospital’s Center for Clinical Laboratories, Northwell Health, Quest Diagnostics, Rapid Reliable Testing and UR Medicine Labs. The State continues to work with other labs and rapid testing sites to expand this list of partners and expedite reporting so users have timely, accurate results to participate in congregate economic and social activities.
James Dolan, Executive Chairman, MSG Sports and Executive Chairman and CEO, MSG Entertainment, said, “We are grateful the state is focused on doing everything possible to reopen businesses across our region safely and quickly. The Excelsior Pass will play an important role in allowing people to gather safely, which will be critical to New York’s recovery. We were proud to be part of the Excelsior Pass pilot and look forward to participating in the program.”
Bob Belber, General Manager, Times Union Center, said, “The Times Union Center looks forward to using this platform and making this excellent technology available for future events. With the convenience of Excelsior Pass, attendees will be able to easily gain access to the arena while promoting public health by showing proof of vaccinations or proof of negative test results on a mobile device. This will be a game changer for our venue’s continued reopening process and for New Yorkers in the Capital Region and beyond.”
James Wester, Research Director, IDC Worldwide Blockchain Strategies, said, “We are fortunate to have technologies the can play a role in securing and authenticating vaccination and health status, while putting individuals in control of what, where and when their data is shared. Having opinions in how we volunteer our health status will ultimately help us all return to normal faster.”
Kathryn Wylde, President & CEO, Partnership for New York City, said, “The business community is eager to get our city’s workforce back to the office, to safely re-open entertainment venues and restaurants, and much more. The Excelsior Pass is an exciting new tool that will accelerate our state’s economic recovery. It is evidence of New York’s forward-thinking approach to restoring jobs and moving beyond the pandemic.”
Jen Lyon, Founder of NY Independent Venue Association and Owner of MeanRed Productions, said, “NYIVA is very excited that New York is leading in creating solutions for ways to open our venues and keep our audiences safe. It’s been a long year of closure and we have a lot of work ahead of us until we return New York State to the arts and culture Mecca that we have always been. We look forward to continuing to work hand in hand with the Governor’s re-opening team to give our members the tools and support they need to bring our arts and culture sector back to life.”
Mark Dorr, President, New York State Hospitality & Tourism Association, said, “Excelsior Pass is a great example of the kind of innovative, forward-looking thinking that the tourism industry needs to safely get back to work as we emerge from the COVID crisis. This first-of-its-kind state app will make it easier for our members to safely hold events under the state guidance and we look forward to putting it to use for our members and guests.”
Bob Provost, President & CEO, New York State Tourism Industry Association – NYSTIA, said, “New York State’s Excelsior Pass will be an invaluable asset to both the tourism industry and consumers. It will ensure accuracy in verification of test and vaccination status while streamlining the process for venues and offering increased convenience and safety to the public. Everyone wins! Kudos to New York State for setting yet another gold standard in best practice.”
Melissa Fleischut, CEO of the New York State Restaurant Association, said, “It’s critical to get the economy fully reopen and the app is an important tool that can help make that happen. Our members support any effort like this to ensure a safe and robust reopening of the economy.”
Scott Wexler, Executive Director of the Empire State Restaurant & Tavern Association, said, “The Excelsior Pass initiative an important step towards stabilizing the State’s hospitality industry. It will provide our patrons with a tool to help keep them safe while returning to arts, cultural, sports, and the other social activities that make New York a great place to live, work, and play.”
Sean Willcoxon, Vice President of Catering, Mazzone Hospitality, said, “Excelsior Pass is an exciting tool providing a secure and efficient way to verify vaccination and testing records, helping caterers like Mazzone Hospitality safely host events. Safe reopening of the State and the release of this tool will be a great help as we open our doors and welcome guests and we are grateful for New York State’s innovative support.”
SUNY Chief Operating Officer Beth Berlin said, “It’s been more than a year since New York State’s first case of COVID-19, and our students, faculty, and staff—and the communities we serve—have done so much to help battle this virus. As we all remain diligent to protect one another, the innovative Excelsior Pass and other tools will help us safely resume more in-person events, which will help accelerate the return of our economy and to more normal times again.”
CUNY’s Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer Hector Batista said, “Excelsior Pass will provide our community with a convenient way to verify vaccination and testing records, helping CUNY safely resume events in line with State guidance. This state app will be an important tool as our State’s safe reopening continues to move forward and we are grateful for New York State’s innovative support.”
Steven M. Cohen, Co-Chair of the New York Forward Reopening Advisory Board and Chair of the Empire State Development Board of Directors, said, “As we continue down the path of a safe and smart economic recovery, Excelsior Pass is a pioneering new platform that will help New Yorkers return to the activities they love. This secure, innovative and easy-to-use technology will support New York residents and businesses alike all across the state and set an example for the entire nation to follow.”
MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick J. Foye said, “New Yorkers and tourists alike are beginning to return to work and social events throughout the region in larger numbers and the MTA has never been more prepared to serve them. Over the course of the last year, our heroic frontline employees have worked relentlessly to transport the city’s heroic frontline workers. We have maintained safety and cleanliness on our subways, buses, and commuter railroads. The MTA remains the best way to get around New York and we are proud to serve the region as it gradually and safely returns to life after the pandemic.”
Governor Cuomo also recently announced the expansion of the New York Forward Rapid Test Program to help businesses, catered events, professional sports games with fans, and events, arts, and entertainment venues safely reopen, with dozens of sites now open statewide. This unique public-private partnership makes low-cost rapid testing more available to the public to support enhanced economic activity as the State continues to reopen sectors of the economy. All participating testing providers have committed to rapid reporting of COVID-19 test results to ECLRS, enabling integration with Excelsior Pass. Learn more about the program and make an appointment here.