"There are going to be separate sections for those who are vaccinated," Randy Levine, president of the Yankees, stated at a May 5 briefing.
"As we sell tickets on an individual basis, they will go into one of those two areas, either unvaccinated or vaccinated because we will have some inventory in both types of location," added Sandy Alderson, the president of the Mets.
Sections with people who are vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, can be full with no capacity restrictions. Sections with unvaccinated people will be limited to 33 percent capacity and fans will need to be spaced apart by six feet. All fans, regardless of their status, will be required to wear a mask.
"So, if you're vaccinated that's one category, you're unvaccinated, that's another category," New York Governor Andrew Cuomo remarked during the briefing.
"I want to thank the Mets and the Yankees from the bottom of my heart," Cuomo added. "It's a pain in the neck for them to operate this vaccinated and unvaccinated. The gentlemen who run the stadiums are here. It's not easy to do this. Nobody's done this before. Nobody's done any of this before, let's be honest."
The new policy will take effect on May 19. Fans will be able to use the Excelsior Pass, an application developed by IBM in partnership with the state, to show proof of vaccination when entering one of the stadiums, or proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
The Excelsior Pass was tested earlier this year at National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Hockey League (NHL) games before being rolled out officially in March. (Related: New Yorkers need "coronavirus passport" to enter stadiums and theaters under new pilot program that smacks of medical tyranny.)
In a bid to get more New Yorkers vaccinated, the teams are offering free tickets to people who get vaccinated at their stadiums.
"If you get a vaccination, they will give you a free ticket to the game," Cuomo said at the press briefing.
"Basically you come to the game, take a vaccine shot, get a voucher and go to that game. If that game's sold out, you can go tomorrow night or go to a game of your choice," explained Levine.
Officials at Citi Field said approximately 2,000 people are getting vaccinated there each day. The pre-game inoculation sites in New York use the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
In a further move toward returning the country's largest city to pre-pandemic normality, Cuomo announced that tickets to Broadway shows would go on sale for performances beginning on Sept. 14.
Curtains at New York City's Broadway theaters, which have been mostly dark since March 2020, will go up on a rolling basis but all of them plan to be open in September, according to Robert Mujica, the state’s budget director.
Following the briefing, critics of Cuomo had a field day on social media. Some say giving free baseball tickets to fans getting vaccinated discriminates against those who believe vaccines are not safe and those with medical reasons to avoid inoculation.
"Cuomo is dividing the vaccinated and unvaccinated!! This is sick, some people cannot take vaccines and he is signaling them out, it is discrimination, this man must be stopped," wrote a Twitter user who goes by the handle Gardasil.
Cuomo is not the only public official offering rewards to get people vaccinated.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city may offer goodies such as free admission to New York's Museum of Natural History, where visitors can get vaccinated under the giant blue whale.
"We're going be looking to do incentives just like that to give people great opportunities when they get vaccinated," de Blasio said during the briefing.
In Chicago, a series of monthly concerts will be offered only to fully vaccinated people beginning May 22. The city is expected to offer a "vax pass" to concerts and other events as an incentive for people to get vaccinated.
In New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy has unveiled "Operation Jersey Summer" a campaign to ramp up vaccinations that that includes "Grateful for the Shot," a plan to get people to go directly from religious services to a vaccination site. It also includes "Shot and a Beer," a program where 13 New Jersey breweries will offer a free beer to anyone 21 and older who can show they received a vaccination in May.
In West Virginia, Governor Jim Justice is offering financial incentives to convince younger residents to get vaccinated. West Virginians between ages 16 and 35 who get vaccinated will get a $100 savings bond. (Related: Whitmer threatens Michigan: Get vaccinated or stay locked down and masked forever.)
In Connecticut, Governor Ned Lamont is touting a two-week program where adults can get a free drink at specific restaurants if they show their vaccination card. The partnership with the Connecticut Restaurant Association is set to start on May 19 to coincide with the lifting of restrictions on businesses across the state.
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