New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the launch of Excelsior Pass - a free, voluntary platform developed in partnership with IBM, which will serve to confirm an individual's recent negative PCR or antigen test result or proof of vaccination to help fast-track the reopening of businesses and event venues in accordance with New York State Department of Health guidelines.
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 Wallet app. Each Pass will have a secure QR code, which participating businesses and venues can scan using a companion app to verify proof of COVID-19 negative test results or proof of vaccination.
As part of this initial launch, participating New Yorkers may choose to use Excelsior Pass to verify their COVID-19 vaccination or negative test results as needed to gain entry to major stadiums and arenas, wedding receptions, or catered and other events above the social gathering limit. Both interested state residents as well as businesses can opt in to use Excelsior Pass. Major venues have already announced they will begin utilizing this technology in the coming weeks, including Madison Square Garden in New York City beginning next week and the Times Union Center in Albany. Beginning April 2, Excelsior Pass will expand to smaller arts, entertainment and event venues.
Prior to its launch, two successful pilot demonstrations were held in recent weeks, along with a beta test where thousands of New Yorkers participated in a limited roll out of the technology to provide feedback on user interface and results.
Excelsior Pass is built on IBM's Digital Health Pass solution and is designed to enable the secure verification of health credentials such as test results and vaccination records without the need to share underlying medical and personal information. The technology is flexible and built to scale, allowing other states to join and help foster a safer, trusted transition to a post-pandemic reality. The pass can also be printed and is complementary to other types of proof that patrons can use, reducing any barriers to usage.
A special emphasis has been placed on the protection of an individual's privacy. Secure technologies, like blockchain and encryption, are woven throughout Excelsior Pass to help protect the data. No private health data is stored or tracked within the apps.