New York's revolutionary COVID-19 'Excelsior Pass' will lead USA back to normalcy

New York is the best state in the USA, and no, I don't just say that because I am a resident. Is it wildly expensive to live in many areas of New York? Absolutely. But you get what you pay for, folks -- parks, beaches, entertainment, restaurants, etc. Look, New York is a trendsetter and leader that was able to overcome the 9/11 terrorist attacks. And guess what? New York is now leading the way to a post-COVID normalcy.

You see, Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced Excelsior Pass -- a digital way for New York residents to prove they are either fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or recently tested negative. This will allow businesses to verify a patron's status before allowing them entry. In other words, things like concerts and sporting events will soon be more accessible, and other states need to follow New York's lead ASAP.

New York State explains that Excelsior Pass "is 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."

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The Empire State further explains, "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."

Should we be concerned about allowing a smartphone app and government agency to track and categorize us based on medical status? Oh my, yes. Under normal circumstances, such a thing would be unthinkable. However, after being locked in our homes for more than a year due to the pandemic, we simply must overlook any privacy worries for the time being. Not only is it imperative to save businesses and get people working again, but it is essential to the mental health of citizens too. We need normalcy!

"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," says Sean Willcoxon, Catering VP, Mazzone Hospitality,

The Excelsior Pass can be signed up for immediately here -- if you qualify, that is. For instance, it isn't enough to have received both doses of Pfizer/Moderna (or single dose of Johnson & Johnson), but two weeks must have passed since the final shot. New York State shares eligibility requirements below.

  • You have been fully vaccinated in the State of New York and it has been 14 days or longer since your final shot, OR
  • You had a PCR test administered in the State of New York in the last 3 days and the result was negative, OR
  • You had an antigen test administered in the State of New York in the last 6 hours and the result was negative.

The Excelsior Pass Wallet app can be downloaded for Android here and iPhone here. Keep in mind, however, the app is pretty much useless unless you qualify for the pass.

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