One of the stipulations of the reopening of New York arenas at 10% capacity is that event attendees need to provide proof of having received a negative PCR test within 72 hours. To help expedite that process, Governor Cuomo and IBM recently unveiled the Excelsior Pass, an app that allows the user's vaccination or test status to be verified via QR code. "Similar to a mobile airline boarding pass, individuals will be able to either print out their pass or store it on their smartphones using the Excelsior Pass's 'Wallet App,'" a press release reads. "Each pass will have a secure QR code, which venues will scan using a companion app to confirm someone's COVID health status."

The Excelsior Pass has been tested at at least two games at the reopened Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center so far. According to the press release, participation in the test was voluntary, and "a subset of predetermined participants" were able to try it out.

More from the press release:

Robust privacy protections are woven throughout the digital health pass solution, giving individuals a secure, verifiable and trusted way to maintain control of their personal health information using an encrypted digital smartphone wallet or printed credential. Each participant will be able to determine if they would like to use it -and if so, what passes they wish to use for which purpose -all without sharing their underlying personal data. User data is always kept completely confidential, and participation is voluntary. The QR code only informs the venue if a pass is valid or invalid.

Read it in full here.

Smartphone-based vaccine verification systems were being developed even before the FDA approved a COVID vaccine, and the Excelsior Pass may wind up being one of multiple in use as concerts and festivals plot their return later this year. Stay tuned for more information.

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