Governor Andrew M. Cuomo is expanding his pilot program for the so-called “Excelsior Pass” that can be used for events at places like Madison Square Garden.
The vaccine passport was developed in partnership with IBM, and features technology that will operate much like a person’s “Wallet App” on their smart phone, with a QR code that can be scanned by ticket takers at venues. Many traveler in Alaska are used to using a QR code to board a commercial aircraft, as the code links to their ticket information.
The technology was used during the Brooklyn Nets game at Barclays Center on Feb. 27 and again at the New York Rangers game on March 2.
As of March 26, its use has been expanded and the vaccine passport will now be accepted at many events and venues statewide. Using the vaccine passports will allow New Yorkers to expand the number of people who can attend weddings, funerals, and catered events. Those that don’t use the technology will face restrictions.
The QR code will reference the state’s database of those who have been vaccinated against the Covid-19 coronavirus.
“We’re doing everything we can to vaccinate as many New Yorkers as possible, as quickly as possible, while keeping the infection rate down and reenergizing our economy in a safe, smart way,” Gov. Cuomo said in a press release. “As we begin reopening the valves on different sectors of our economy, we are putting guidelines in place to ensure individuals attending events involving larger gatherings have tested negative for COVID or have been vaccinated to avoid an outbreak of the virus. The Excelsior Pass will play a critical role in getting information to venues and sites in a secure and streamlined way, allowing us to fast-track the reopening of these businesses and getting us one step closer to reaching a new normal.”
“This solution can provide New York, and other states, a simple, secure, and voluntary method for showing proof of a negative COVID-19 test result or certification of vaccination. 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,” said Steve LaFleche, General Manager of IBM Public and Federal Market.
“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,” according to the New York Governor’s Office.
Critics cite privacy concerns, and say that it also creates a digital bias against those who don’t have smartphones. Further, there are concerns about how the information may be used by various government agencies.