Even in a pandemic, New York City has a lot to offer in terms of food, history, entertainment and culture, but the city is now considering offering inoculation to out-of-towners as well.
Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration is planning a major push this summer to bring tourism back to the Big Apple. While they're at it, why not send tourists home fully vaccinated against COVID-19?
Under the proposal, the city would set up vaccination sites at various local attractions, offering the Johnson & Johnson one-shot coronavirus vaccine to travelers as a matter of utmost convenience.
"This is a positive message to tourists," de Blasio said. "Come here; it's safe. It's a great place to be, and we're gonna take care of you. We're going to make sure you get vaccinated while you're here with us."
The state would have to modify rules surrounding COVID-19 vaccinations to make the plan a reality. Currently, New York vaccines may only be administered to people who either live or work in the state. The mayor says he's working with Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration to secure approval.
If and when Cuomo signs off on the plan, mobile vans are prepared to roll out as early as this weekend, offering walk-up vaccinations at the Empire State Building, Times Square, Brooklyn Bridge Park, the High Line and Central Park, among other locations.
De Blasio's administration is looking to recover some $60 billion in economic contributions from tourism and 90,000 jobs that were lost during the pandemic shutdowns.
New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are coordinating a major reopening economic activity in the Tri-State area on May 19, at which time capacity restrictions are businesses will be largely repealed, though mask requirements and social distancing imperatives will remain.
Subway service in the five boroughs will return to 24/7 again on May 17.
De Blasio has expressed hopes that if vaccinations continue being administered in large numbers that the city will be fully "reopened" by July.
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