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(Image courtesy of the Office of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo)
(Image courtesy of the Office of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo)

NYS: Excelsior Pass Plus to support safe, secure return of tourism and business travel


Mon, Aug 9th 2021 01:05 pm

New York's successful first-in-the-nation platform now offering a new pass option recognized by other states and countries and businesses around world

√ VeriFLY will accept uploads of Excelsior Pass Plus for travel on American Airlines

√ Broadway Theaters, Public Theater's Free Shakespeare in the Park, and the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center Utilizing Excelsior Pass for event entry; Marriott will offer Excelsior Pass solutions to meeting planners hosting events at its more than 200 New York properties

Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced the launch of Excelsior Pass Plus to expand travel and commerce opportunities for New Yorkers. His team said this will enable compatibility between the state's Excelsior Pass platform, which has generated 3 million passes and provides digital proof of vaccination or negative test result, and the secure, globally recognized SMART Health Cards Framework developed by an international consortium called VCI.

“This includes a first-in-the-nation partnership with VeriFLY by Daon, through which Excelsior Pass Plus users can securely upload their verified COVID-19 vaccination credentials to VeriFLY, and travel through American Airlines to Greece, France, Spain, Italy and the Bahamas, and on indirect flights to El Salvador, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras and Puerto Rico. The list will continue to grow as partnerships facilitating access to more countries are in development.

“New Yorkers will be able to display their Excelsior Pass Plus at hundreds of businesses and locations that require proof of vaccination, as well as when traveling to entities where SMART Health Cards are accepted. Excelsior Pass Plus, a result of the strategic partnership between New York state and VCI, will provide New Yorkers safe access to retrieve a secure, digital copy of their COVID-19 vaccination record using the SMART Health Cards Framework – making their interstate and international travel and commerce experiences safer, contact-less and more seamless.”

Cuomo said, "Excelsior Pass has enabled New Yorkers to get back to the people and things they love, helping drive our economic recovery in the process. Excelsior Pass Plus will advance this even further, and is part of our broad commitment to securely take our vaccination verification efforts to the next level. From day 1, we have said that the question of 'public health or the economy' is a false choice – it is and must always be both, and as we continue to follow the science to remain ahead of the pandemic, we will continue to innovate our tools to ensure that New Yorkers and New York businesses thrive."

Building off the state's Excelsior Pass solution, team Cuomo said, “Excelsior Pass Plus expands its usage, supporting the safe and secure return of tourism and business travel – major economic drivers for the state – and providing a pass option that holds the same level of information and validity as a CDC vaccination card, with greater security than a physical card which can be misplaced or stolen, and verified by the state of New York.”

Excelsior Pass Plus was developed in partnership with VCI, a voluntary coalition of 570 public and private organizations – including The Mayo Clinic, MITRE, Boston Children's Hospital, Microsoft and The Commons Project Foundation – that lead the development and implementation of the open-source SMART Health Cards Framework and specifications, which are already in use in states such as California, Louisiana and Hawaii. Using two-factor authentication security, Excelsior Pass Plus “expands on the state's commitment to empower individuals with access to a free, trustworthy, privacy-preserving, and verifiable copy of their own vaccination records in paper or digital form, and supports the harmonization of standards needed for the issuance of verifiable health credentials worldwide – signed clinical data bound to an individual identity.”

Currently, more than 50 countries globally are allowing U.S. travelers entry with proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Executive Director Rick Cotton said, "Gov. Cuomo's announcement of a first-of-its-kind partnership between New York state and VeriFLY that will allow travelers to use Excelsior Pass Plus for overseas flights is a critical step in rebuilding tourism and business travel, two linchpins of our regional economy. The launch of Excelsior Pass Plus and the partnership with VeriFLY enhances the multitude of efforts by the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey throughout the pandemic to give travelers confidence in the safety and security of air travel."

Excelsior Pass, launched by Cuomo in March, was the first-of-its-kind to be available in the U.S., providing a way to present digital proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative test results to fast-track the state's reopening, including for hard-hit industries like food services, entertainment and hospitality. Major tourist destinations and event venues including Broadway theaters, Public Theater's free Shakespeare in the Park, and the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center have recently announced using Excelsior Pass for proof of entry following successful adoption across many of New York's largest stadiums, including Madison Square Garden, Barclays Center and Yankee Stadium. Additionally, Marriott International will be making Excelsior Pass solutions available to meeting planners hosting events at its more than 200 New York properties.

Excelsior Pass Plus follows the governor's July 28 announcement that all state workers – approximately 130,000 – will be required to get vaccinated or be tested on a weekly basis. All patient-facing health care workers at state-run hospitals will be required to get vaccinated. Both Excelsior Pass and Pass Plus will be accepted as forms of proof. Over 75.7% of New York adults have received at least one vaccine dose, and more than 68.8% of adults are fully vaccinated (CDC) – and Excelsior Pass solutions “will support reopening shared spaces, such as offices, while protecting the public health of those returning to these settings.”

Interested New Yorkers can learn more about Excelsior Pass Plus – including how to retrieve a Pass through the NYS Excelsior Wallet app – by visiting epass.ny.gov.

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