The State of New York has teamed up with US technology giant IBM to trial a new COVID-19 health pass at Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center.

Developed in partnership with IBM, the Excelsior Pass uses secure technology to confirm an individual’s vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test through a confidential data transfer. The technology is designed to help fast-track the reopening of theatres, stadiums and other businesses in accordance with New York State guidelines.

The new technology was tested during the initial phase of the pilot for the Brooklyn Nets’ NBA basketball game at Barclays Center on Saturday, as well as the New York Rangers’ NHL ice hockey game yesterday (Tuesday) at Madison Square Garden.

Similar to a mobile airline boarding pass, individuals are able to either print out their pass or store it on their smartphones using the Excelsior Pass’s ‘Wallet App.’ Each pass has a secure QR code, which venues can scan using a companion app to confirm someone’s COVID health status.

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Meanwhile, NYC Nightlife United, the emergency fund formed in the wake of COVID-19, has announced several new grant recipients with distributions now surpassing £100,000.

The non-profit was launched to benefit organisations and individuals across New York City’s nightlife scene, including small live music business, musicians, artists, and engineers, among others.

In the latest wave of funding, NYC Nightlife United has provided $1,000 grants to several individuals, including DJ and producer Gavilán Rayna Russom, as well as Sustain-Release festival organiser Auror Halal, among others.

“Production crews have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic, with the end not yet in sight,” said lighting designer Kip Davis, who is another recipient of the fund. “This grant will be shared with my team for whatever urgent needs they might have.”

NYC Nightlife United recently announced the distribution of $30,000 in funds to drag and music festival Bushwig, electronic collective and talent agency Discwoman, producer Major Stage, theater production house New Heritage Theatre Group, bar and nightclub Now and Then and bar and community space Ode To Babel.