Hochul expands N.Y. Excelsior Pass to four states

Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks during a COVID-19 briefing in the state Capitol in Albany on Tuesday. Courtesy of Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office

ALBANY — Gov. Kathleen C. Hochul announced on Tuesday the expansion of the New York State Excelsior Pass, the digital pass that can be used to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test or a COVID-19 vaccination.

The application has been updated to enable the validation of SMART Health Cards from trusted, out-of-state issuers, including The Mayo Clinic, Boston Children’s Hospital, Microsoft, MITRE and The Commons Project Foundation. The public and private organizations were included in collaboration with the Vaccine Credential Initiative.

“Excelsior Pass and Excelsior Pass Plus — the nation’s first vaccine and negative test pass system — have been critical tools in the safe reopening of our economy and the protection of New York’s public health,” Gov. Hochul said in a statement. “We’re expanding this solution even further with a set of standards that can be used and validated by all businesses for free, nationwide, based on shared policies and commitments New Yorkers trust.”

The application is now able to accept and validate passes from U.S. states that issue SMART Health Cards. These states include California, Hawaii, Louisiana and Virginia. New York also plans to update the application soon to add Washington state to that list.

More than 5.6 million Excelsior Passes, including over 800,000 of the Exclesior Pass Plus have been issued since the voluntary platform was launched earlier this year, according to the governor’s press release. With the update, New Yorkers who were vaccinated in New Jersey or Vermont can now receive the Excelsior Pass and Excelsior Pass Plus.

“Today’s update to the NYS Excelsior Pass Scanner app expands its capabilities and reach, both for individuals as well as organizations, businesses, and venues nationwide,” Rajiv Rao, the state’s chief technology officer and deputy chief information officer, said in a statement. “As the first validation system and rules engine based on federal and state COVID-19 guidance, we are creating new, free, accessible digital infrastructure that brings us all closer together — and closer to the people and things we have missed for too long.”

The Excelsior Pass application is available for mobile devices from the Apple Store and Google Play.

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