(WSYR) — New York State is the first in the U.S. to formally launch an app, using technology to fast track the reopening of businesses and event venues. The New York Excelsior Pass provides a free, fast, and secure way to present digital proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative test results.

The idea behind the technology is that businesses and venues can scan and validate that someone has tested negative for COVID-19 or is fully vaccinated before allowing someone entry, reducing the chances of spreading the virus.

Passes can be stored digitally with the Excelsior Pass Wallett app or can be printed on the Excelsior Pass website.

Who can get a pass

Anyone vaccinated or tested for COVID-19 in New York is eligible for a pass, and there are currently three different types of Passes:

  • COVID-19 Vaccination Pass
  • COVID-19 PCR Test Pass
  • COVID-19 Antigen Test Pass (rapid COVID tests)

The COVID-19 Vaccination Pass is currently valid for 30 days after the pass is retrieved. After the pass expires, you can retrieve a new Pass from the Excelsior Pass website.

The COVID-19 PCR Test Pass is valid until midnight on the third day after your test. After your COVID-19 PCR Test Pass expires, a new test is required to retrieve a new pass.

The COVID-19 Antigen Test Pass is valid for 6 hours after your test. After your COVID-19 Antigen Test Pass expires, a new test is required to retrieve a new pass.

Getting a pass is completely voluntary and not needed if you don’t want one. Alternate proof like a vaccination card or test results is valid. It’s simply a tool to make validation for businesses and venues and event-goers easier. All New York State guidance, restrictions, and COVID-19 precautions are still in place.

Why does the pass expire?

New York State says “COVID-19 is a highly infectious disease. Given the ongoing presence of COVID-19 transmission in New York, passes are only temporarily valid to protect everyone’s health. After a pass expires, you will need to follow the requirements for retrieving a new pass”.

Where to use the pass

Weddings, catered events, stadiums, arenas, and arts and entertainment venues are required to have guests test negative or be vaccinated as a condition of reopening in accordance with New York State’s guidance.

With the New York Excelsior Pass, participating businesses and venues scan the pass to ensure that COVID requirements are met before guests enter the venue. Patrons may also be required to show photo ID to verify the pass belongs to them.

How do I get a pass?

To get a pass, visit the website and click “Get Started.”

You will need to provide basic personal information, including your first and last name, date of birth, and zip code. You will also need to verify your identity with three “challenge questions” whose answers are unique to you. You’ll need to enter this information every time you retrieve a pass.

Once you receive a pass from the website, you can print a paper pass, take a screen shot of your pass, or save your pass to the Excelsior Pass Wallet mobile app.