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New Protocol Tool: Vaccine Passports

Scan this. As the nation continues to make headway with COVID-19 vaccinations, there’s more good news on the local front: Since April 2, New Yorkers have been able to pull up a code on their cellphones to prove they’ve been vaccinated or recently tested negative for the virus. The new vaccine verification app, Excelsior Pass, will initially be accepted at dozens of event, arts and entertainment venues – and it could also prove to be a valuable tech tool for co-ops and condos amid the ongoing pandemic.


Risk management. “I think the vaccination passport can be useful for co-op boards as an additional measure to protect the health of their residents and workers,” says James Glatthaar, a partner at the law firm Bleakley Platt & Schmidt. “For example, if you have to send staff into someone’s apartment, you’ll have immediate evidence that no one is sick and that they won’t expose anyone to the virus.” 

Michelle Quinn, a partner at the law firm Gallet Dreyer & Berkey, adds that boards could require verification from visitors as well as contractors and construction workers. And as restrictions ease on long-shuttered residential gyms and pools, boards could use the app to help shareholders and unit-owners resume their workouts with more peace of mind. 


For the record. However boards decide to use the app, Quinn recommends incorporating the new protocol – whether it’s for vendors or visitors – into their house rules, as well as posting or sending a notice to residents. And boards should still proceed with care, since vaccine verification is no substitute for existing safety measures such as mask wearing and social distancing. 


Tech tweaks. There’s also the issue of working out the bugs. Users who download

the Excelsior app are issued a personalized, scannable code based on data from both the state’s vaccine registry and a number of preapproved testing companies. “We want to make sure everything works and ensure that the app is accurate,” says Robert Ferrara, the president of the Ferrara Management Group. “It’s early in the game, but I think all boards should take advantage of every tool in their toolbox.”

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