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New York Is Gearing Up For a Massive Expansion of Its ‘Vaccine Passport’ Program

Plus, Brooklyn Kolache opens a second location in the West Village — and more intel

Restaurants reopening indoor dining NYC Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

New York enters $17M deal with IBM to expand “vaccine passport” program

New York state is gearing up for a massive expansion of its budding and somewhat controversial “vaccine passport” program, according to documents obtained by the New York Times this week. State officials have reportedly entered a three-year, $17 million contract with IBM to expand the state’s Excelsior Pass program to accommodate as many as 10 million people, more than half the population of New York state. As part of the contract, IBM is tasked with building a “road map” for expanding the program to 20 million users.

The contract also stipulates that in the future, the Excelsior Pass may be used to verify a wider range of information about New Yorkers, including their age, driver’s license status, and other health records, the Times reports.

In New York City, vaccination records are being checked at a growing — but still relatively small — number of restaurants and bars, following state guidelines that vaccinated individuals “do not need to wear masks or be socially distanced” at businesses operating below the indoor gathering capacity of 250 people. Some two million individuals have downloaded Excelsior Pass as of June 7, according to the Times. The state’s contract with IBM estimates that as many as two-thirds of New York adults — some 9 million people — will download the digital pass by 2024.

  • ‘Vaccine Passports’ Could Be the New ID Required at NYC Bars and Nightclubs [ENY]

In other news

— Brooklyn Kolache, the Bed-Stuy cafe that introduced New York to Texas-style kolaches almost a decade ago, opens a second location in the West Village today. The walk-up bakery, located at 185 Bleecker Street, near MacDougal Street, is now serving more than a dozen variety of kolache, including those made with beef, jalapeno, sweet cheese, and feta.

— Angelina Bakery in Midtown is opening three additional locations this year, owner Tony Park tells Eater. The cafe specializing in Italian-Asian pastry will open a Times Square flagship store in July, with locations in Williamsburg and Herald Square planned for October.

— A month after reports that chef Michael White had departed from Altamarea Group, the hospitality company has appointed Susan Lee, who helped open Pastis and Veronika at Fotografiska, as its executive director of operations, according to a spokesperson.

— As part of a new documentary, BRIC TV follows local group Los Deliveristas Unidos in their ongoing fight for better pay, bathroom access, and treatment from restaurants and third-party delivery apps in New York City.

— A big tech-backed bill that would have prevented food delivery workers from demonstrating against the companies they work for has been killed in the state legislature.

— Grub Street’s guide to the return of late-night drinking and dancing.

— Did we mention early voting starts this weekend:

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