Travel to New York City during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

Travel to New York City during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

Posted: Sep 9, 2021 10:31 PM
Updated: Sep 9, 2021 10:31 PM

If you're planning to travel to New York City, here's what you'll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The basics


Nearly all pandemic travel restrictions were lifted in June in New York state (including New York City) as 70% of New Yorkers 18 or older had received the first dose of their Covid-19 vaccination series.

However, a new "Key to NYC" vaccination requirement became effective on August 17 in response to the Delta variant surge. It requires proof of vaccination for patrons and employees of the city's indoor dining, fitness and entertainment venues.

Compliance will begin being enforced on September 13, according to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Some of the venues of interest to travelers that are part of the requirement include restaurants, nightclubs, concert halls, museums, performing arts theaters, movie theaters, bowling alleys, arcades, casinos, cabarets, fitness centers, pools and coffee shops with indoor dining.

The mayor has endorsed CDC guidance recommending masking indoors, regardless of vaccination status, but has not issued a mask mandate.

What's on offer

This is the ultimate city break. New York has the greatest city skyline in the world; culture from the Guggenheim to MoMA; spectacular food from Chinese delicacies in Flushing to Italian delights in the Bronx; and the green sweep of Central Park to the busy Lower East Side.

Who can go

New York is subject to US government rules, meaning travel from Brazil, China, the European Schengen Area, India, Iran, Ireland, South Africa and the United Kingdom is not permitted. Exemptions are available for US citizens, family members or permanent residents. Travel from all other countries is allowed.

All air travelers entering the United States are now required to have a negative Covid-19 test result.

What are the restrictions?

Asymptomatic travelers entering New York from another country, US state or territory are not required to test or quarantine.

New York officials still recommend quarantine for all travelers who are not fully vaccinated or have not recovered from Covid-19 during the previous three months. Testing three to five days after arriving in New York is also recommended for these travelers.

Every air traveler entering the United States needs a negative Covid-19 test result. Passengers are required to get a viral test within three days before their flight to the US departs and to provide documentation of their lab results or documentation of having recovered from Covid-19.

What's the Covid situation?

As of September 9, almost 33,970 total confirmed and probable deaths and more than 1,047,000 total confirmed or probable cases were registered. There's been a test positivity rate of about 4.14% in the past 28 days.

What can visitors expect?

Restaurants, movie theaters and other venues are open -- but only to fully vaccinated patrons.

The city is strongly recommending masking indoors, but has decided not to make it a mandate. The "Key to NYC" vaccine mandate will begin being enforced by the city on September 13, giving businesses and venues a few weeks to work out details before penalties for noncompliance set in.

Broadway remains set to fully reopen in September, but you must be vaccinated to attend and masks are required except when eating and drinking. Those rules are in effect through October. You can see a listing of shows at Broadway.com.

The Empire State Building's 86th floor Observatory is open. The Metropolitan Museum of Art requires visitors 12 and older to be vaccinated, and children 2 to 11 must wear a mask.

The subway system continues to operate on a 24-hour basis.

The state of New York has launched the Excelsior Pass, which allows people who have received a negative test or a vaccination in New York state to provide proof of their status. The digital pass is not a requirement for venues or events that require testing or vaccinations to enter, so a traveler from another state could use their own vaccination card or lab test result to enter.

Useful links

New York State Covid-19 microsite

Nycgo.com

CDC Travel Health

Our recent coverage

There are two new attractions added to the NYC roster. Read about Little Island, which sits in Hudson River, and a spectacular elevator at One Vanderbilt tower.

Check out our New Yorker's guide to eating out safely during the pandemic, or read about the bar Dante, which was named the second best in the world this year.

Consider a post-pandemic stay at the first hotel on Roosevelt Island, a sliver of an island in the East River with a notorious past.

Want to eat great Indian food? You'll find it across the water in New Jersey. Or salivate over New York cheesecake in our list of the world's best desserts.

The-CNN-Wire
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