Travel to New York City During Covid-19: What You Need To Know Before You Go
If you are planning to travel to New York City, here are some things to know and expect if you plan to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic.
New York City was the U.S. epicenter of the March 2020 Covid-19 pandemic and hospitals struggled to cope with the influx of patients.
After a lighter summer, there was a spike in infections in late 2020 through January and new lockdown measures were put in place. Those numbers have dropped significantly, despite researchers reporting a worrying new variant of the coronavirus in the city.
What is on offer?
This is the ultimate city break. New York has the largest skyline in the world; Culture from the Guggenheim to MoMA; spectacular food, from Chinese delights in Flushing to Italian delights in the Bronx; and the green sweep of Central Park to the bustling Lower East Side.
Who can go
New York is regulated by the US government, meaning travel from Brazil, China, the European Schengen Area, Iran, Ireland, South Africa, and the United Kingdom are not permitted. Exceptions apply to U.S. citizens, family members, or permanent residents. Travel from all other countries is allowed.
All air travelers entering the United States must now have a negative Covid-19 test result.
Out-of-state travelers are allowed to enter New York State with some restrictions (see below).
What are the limitations?
New York has strict policies for those who travel domestically and internationally.
Travelers from states bordering New York are exempt from quarantine or testing requirements, but must complete the state’s Traveler Health Form. Please visit the Covid-19 Travel Advice website for full instructions.
Travelers from other states are allowed to enter New York state but are currently required to quarantine for 10 days or use a testing scheme to shorten the quarantine. To shorten this, a Covid-19 PCR test must be carried out with a negative result within three days of arrival. The travelers must then be quarantined for three days and then perform a second test with negative results.
However, domestic travelers no longer need to be quarantined after arriving from another U.S. state or territory as of April 1, although the health department continues to recommend quarantine after domestic travel as an additional precaution.
Domestic travelers from other states who have been fully vaccinated in the past 90 days no longer need to test and quarantine.
Mandatory quarantines will remain in effect for international travelers after April 1st.
All travelers are still required to complete the state’s Traveler Health Form.
Every air traveler entering the United States must have a negative Covid-19 test result. Passengers must have a virus test performed and document their laboratory results or recovery from Covid-19 within three days of their departure for the United States.
How is the Covid situation?
After months of falling daily cases in New York City, the number of infections rose again in the fall of 2020, with a record high in early January before declining again. As of March 26, more than 30,000 confirmed and probable deaths and 824,000 confirmed or probable cases have been recorded.
What can visitors expect?
New York’s busy streets went quiet at the beginning of the pandemic and have been slow to recover in the months since, although many areas, including Brooklyn, are again busy.
On March 22nd, the capacity for outdoor gatherings increased to 25 people. The limit for indoor gatherings remains 10 people.
For social gatherings in public spaces, the capacity limits for indoor events have been increased to 100 people and the capacity for outdoor events is now 200 people.
Social distancing and masking requirements remain in place for gatherings.
From April 2nd, events, arts and entertainment venues can reopen with 33% capacity limited to 100 people indoors and 200 people outdoors. When participants are tested, the capacity increases to 150 people indoors and 500 people outdoors – with requirements for distancing and face-covering.
Indoor dining was expanded to 50% on March 19th.
Outdoor dining continues and restaurants and bars are developing ad hoc structures. Bars and restaurants have to close at 11 p.m.
The museums are open but have started making timed reservations to comply with the lower capacity rules. MoMA, the Museum of Natural History, and the Whitney all operate a pre-purchased ticket policy. Visitors should expect temperature checks on arrival.
The non-essential retail trade is open. However, masks are mandatory in public and social distancing guidelines must be followed at all times.
New York state recently announced the Excelsior Pass, which can be used to prove their status to anyone who has received a negative test or vaccination in New York state. The digital pass is not a requirement for venues or events that require tests or vaccinations to attend. A traveler from another state can therefore use their own vaccination card or laboratory test result to attend.
New York State Covid-19 microsite
CDC Travel Health
New York State Traveler Health Form
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