Monday morning marked the beginning of New York City's enforcement of citywide proof-of-vaccination rules at a variety of indoor businesses, including restaurants, fitness centers and theaters.
The mandates have been in effect since last month, but the city will now begin imposing $1,000 fines to businesses that do not comply.
Under the rules, businesses are required to ask customers for proof of at least partial immunization (at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine) upon entry.
The September 13 enforcement date coincides with the return of students to New York City public schools, as well as the full reopening of Broadway theaters.
Mayor Bill de Blasio says the vaccine mandate is necessary to guard public health and to help repair the city's economy, which is still sputtering as COVID anxiety discourages tourism and out-of-home activity.
"This helps everyone feel safe. This gives every one of the customers the knowledge that they are safe, the employees know they're safe, it's everyone moving forward to getting our city back," de Blasio said Monday. "You're gonna be safe wherever you go -- movie theater, gym, restaurant, you're gonna be safe."
He added that the time is now for unvaccinated people to get their first dose, so they can help the fight against the delta variant and participate in city life.
Exceptions to the rule include children under 12 years old — who are not yet eligible for vaccination against COVID-19 — as well as contractors and non-NYC-based performers and athletes.
Also exempt are religious institutions, community centers, office buildings, house parties and a few others.
People can show their vaccination cards or New York's COVID-19 vaccine mobile apps.
In August, the FDA granted full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine.