New technology has been tested to facilitate safety during return of society to in-person events amidst the pandemic; the Excelsior Pass is a program that allows participants to verify that they have had a recent negative COVID test or received a vaccination before entering events.
The Excelsior Pass allows for the privacy and safety of users by allowing them to verify their status with respect to the aforementioned criteria, and the technology produces a QR code which only shares whether their pass is valid or invalid to scanners. The pass can be downloaded as a wallet app or printed out, and it shares no specific health information to ensure the welfare of the people attending events while protecting the sensitive information of individuals.
The program was tested in New York during the February 27 Brooklyn Nets game at the Barclays Center and achieved successful results. A second implementation occurred at Madison Square Garden during the Rangers game on March 2.
The new program is not the first step that authorities and venues have taken to prevent the spread of disease as people start to attend events again. New York governor Andrew Cuomo, who also announced the Excelsior Pass, disclosed that venues with a capacity of above 10,000 people are able to open up at 10 percent capacity with measures to prevent the spread of disease, including the requirement of proof that attendees received a negative PCR test 72 hours before events. Smaller venues can have increased capacities if they are able to administer COVID testing at their locations.
Ticketmaster is also looking into similar options, considering a way to verify vaccine or testing status before events; however, the company has stated that such regulations and restrictions would be implemented at the discretion of the event organizers, not Ticketmaster.