The future of travel is vaccine certificates: These are the popular destinations and tourist attractions requiring proof of vaccination

Jul 30, 2021

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Editor’s note: This story was updated with new information on August 3. It was originally published on July 30, 2021.


This week alone has brought efforts by various cities, attractions and businesses requiring proof of vaccination for attendance.

On Thursday, President Biden even suggested vaccination might be a prerequisite for international travel down the line.

“You’re going to fly abroad … you’re going to have to have proof. You’re not just going to be able to say, ‘Yeah, I got tested,'” Biden told reporters during a media briefing on July 29 regarding COVID-19 and the delta variant.

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Although many countries have implemented pre-travel testing and/or quarantine requirements for incoming visitors, the decision on vaccination thus far has been made by each individual country, including in the European Union, where decisions are generally made as a collective body. On Tuesday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced that the EU had “kept its world and delivered” on its target to vaccinate at least 70% of adults in the EU with at least one dose.

“Today we have achieved this target,” she said on July 27. “And 57% of adults already have the full protection of double vaccination.”

The United States is not far behind, where the CDC reports that just over 69% of adults have been poked with one shot as of July 30, falling just short of Biden’s initial goal to reach 70% vaccination by July 4. “My guess is: If we don’t start to make more progress, a lot of businesses and a lot of enterprises are going to require proof for you to be able to participate,” Biden said on July 29.

It seems a lag in vaccination rollout has led to efforts by several cities, destinations and companies to take matters into their own hands when it comes to requiring proof of vaccination.

Just this morning, the Broadway League announced that proof of vaccinations and masks will be required to attend all performances in New York City’s Broadway through October. Various mayors have reimplemented mask measures, including in Florida, where masks will be once again required at Walt Disney World. The Walt Disney Company confirmed that it will also require all park employees to be fully vaccinated starting this fall, with “certain limited exceptions.”

Read more: Broadway will require vaccination and masks to attend shows

Earlier this week, on July 26, various outlets reported that the San Francisco Bar Owner Alliance issued a statement recommending member bars require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test at the door due to the “recent uptick in cases of COVID-19 among our staff members.”

Read more: CDC changes its mask recommendations for vaccinated people

“It will be the official position of the SF Bar Owner Alliance that any customer who wishes to remain inside our establishments show proof of vaccination or a 72-hour negative COVID-19 test,” the statement said. “Guests without these verifications are welcome to sit outside in parklets or other spaces we offer.”

In New York City and Washington, D.C., Danny Meyer, founder of Union Square Hospitality Group, told CNBC on July 29 that proof of vaccination will be required for all employees and indoor patrons at the group’s full-service restaurants, including Maialino Mare and Anchovy Social in D.C. and Gramercy Tavern, the Modern and Union Square Cafe in New York. The policy, which goes into effect Sept. 7, will exclude popular burger joint Shake Shack for now.

Similar efforts have been made by governors to implement rules to apply to hotels, including in Quintana Roo, Mexico.

“Due to the rise in cases within the local population in main Quintana Roo cities, the government is strengthening the safety and prevention measures, which have been in place since the destinations’ reopening last year,” the Quintana Roo Tourism Board said via email.

The following guidelines have been in place and enforced since last 2020:

  • Half capacity for restaurants outside hotels
  • Closure of some of the main avenues in downtown Cancun from midnight to 5 a.m.
  • Face masks are required in public spaces, along with  social distancing

“Restaurants and bars not complying will face closures,” the tourism board said. “They have been given fines but some restaurants and bars have still not complied.”

Mazatlan Mayor Luis Guillermo Benítez Torres also introduced similar guidelines last week, applicable in hotels and public places, as noted by Forbes.

The government stated that in order for restaurants and bars to operate at a higher capacity, they would have to create a “safe health space;” that would mean vaccinating and testing all their employees, requiring guests to present proof of vaccination or antigen tests. This was a suggestion on how to create a safer environment, but it was never a state mandate or requirement. As of today, no restaurant, bar or hotel has announced implementing these measures.

When it comes to domestic employers, CNN reported that Google, Facebook, Netflix, Uber, Lyft and the Washington Post are among several companies that have implemented vaccine requirements for employees wishing to return to the office.

Read more: Masks to be required again at Walt Disney World and Disneyland as of July 30

Taking this all into consideration means that if you find yourself in one of these destinations, as a traveler or local alike, be prepared to be subjected to vaccination or testing requirements. Entry and exit requirements are rapidly changing, so be sure to double-check before you plan to go anywhere.

For domestic travel restrictions, the Biden administration will continue to use “science and public health” to guide their decisions.

“The administration understands the importance of international travel and is united in wanting to reopen the international travel in a safe and sustainable manner,” White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a press briefing yesterday. At the time of publication, she reinforced to reporters that the White House will not be implementing a national vaccine mandate at this time.

Featured photo of White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images.

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