What you need to know about the Covid-19 health crisis in New York

As you know, Covid-19 is already everywhere in the world. It affects our daily lives and the lives of New Yorkers too.
I will be updating the information I share here to be aware of what is happening in the city and what might happen in the future.

Updated on 06/15/2021

Who’s managing the Covid-19 crisis in New York?

In the United States, it is the governors of each state who manage and create laws and rules.
For New York State, it is Andrew Cuomo. He is a Democrat, so he often disagrees with President Trump (a Republican).
Bill de Blasio is the mayor of New York City. Let’s say that Cuomo and de Blasio are not the best friends in the world and have a few feuds going on. They are from the same party, but with different opinions and branches. However, because of his position as Governor, Cuomo has more power and he decides on what happens in NYC.


© Johnny Vacar

Have they implemented lockdown measures in New York?

Since March 22, 2020, the State of New York, and consequently New York City, has implemented a quarantine measure. The period named “New York State on Pause” was extended to May 28, 2020. If the City of New York meets Cuomo criteria, the measure could end before May 28.

There were two press conferences in New York on May 28, 2020:
Mayor de Blasio: he said that the contamination figures are down and that’s reassuring. However, the indicators are not reached to reopen everything. He adds that he does not want to rush the measures and avoid that these two months at home were useless.
The preparation for Phase 1 is underway but not scheduled yet (opening of stores, for example, with online orders to be collected on-site), and instructions put in place (hygiene, social distancing), and measures for non-compliance with the rules (fines).
For the moment, he does not decide on any date, and he said it could be in the first or second week of June. It will depend on the metrics required to begin reopening.
The press release is available on Twitter: https://twitter.com/nycgov/status/1266002582297817088
Governor Cuomo’s: his remarks are about NY State seeming to be getting better. For NYC, he prefers to take precautions because the city is dense, and for the moment, the figures are not yet good enough to reopen everything. He insists, especially on wearing a mask, maintaining distances, and the importance of being tested.
He has thus placed an executive order authorizing businesses to refuse service to anyone not wearing a mask.
The press release is available here: https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/amid-ongoing-covid-19-pandemic-governor-cuomo-issues-executive-order-authorizing-businesses

May 29, 2020, at 4.47pm:
New York City will enter phase one of reopening on June 8, 2020.

June 17, 2020, at 4.00pm:
New York City will enter phase two of reopening on June 22, 2020.

June 24, 2020: List of States updated on October 31.
Cuomo announced that all individuals traveling to NY, NJ, or CT from listed states with significant community spread of COVID-19 must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
For the moment, it applies to anyone traveling from Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Those traveling from one of these States must fill out a form so that the New York authorities can ensure that visitors are respecting the quarantine measures.

More info Travel Health Form

July 1, 2020:
Cuomo indicates that NYC will enter phase 3 reopening on July 6th. However, restaurants will not be able to offer indoor service..
Info: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/covid-19-travel-advisory

July 17, 2020:
New York City is set to enter Phase 4 of reopening, concerning media production, low-risk outdoor entertainment, professional sports competitions (without fans), and more.
Info: https://forward.ny.gov/phase-four-industries

September 25, 2020:
Indoor dining will be permitted in New York City on September 30. Health and safety protocols include:
– 25% occupancy limit,
– temperature checks at the door
– masks must be worn at all times when not seated at a table
– tables must be six feet apart
Read Cuomo announcement here.

September 29, 2020
Cuomo’s Executive order September 2020:
Travelers arriving in New York from Level 2 and Level 3 countries must complete a 14-day quarantine and fill out the NYS Department of Health traveler health form.

Governor Cuomo has announced new guidelines replacing the mandatory 14-day quarantine for certain out-of-state travelers.

The new protocol is effective on November 4. It applies to any traveler to NY state from out of state:
For travelers who were in another state for more than 24 hours:
– Travelers must obtain a test within three days of departure from that state.
– The traveler must, upon arrival in New York, quarantine for three days.
– On day 4 of their quarantine, the traveler must obtain another COVID test. If both tests come back negative, the traveler may exit quarantine early upon receipt of the second negative diagnostic test.

All out-of-state travelers must complete the Traveler Health Form upon entering New York. Travelers coming to New York through other means of transport, including trains and cars, must fill out the form online.

International Travelers:
The 14-day quarantine measure still applies to International Travelers as indicated on September 29 by Governor Cuomo:
– 14-day quarantine obligation for travelers arriving from countries considered level 2 and 3
– Obligation to fill out the NYS Department of Health Traveler Health Form.

However, the new guidelines for travelers to test out of the mandatory 14-day quarantine are below:
– Travelers must obtain a test within three days of departure before arrival in New York.
– The traveler must, upon arrival in New York, quarantine for three days.
– On day 4 of their quarantine, the traveler must obtain another COVID test. If both tests come back negative, the traveler may exit quarantine early upon receipt of the second negative diagnostic test.

For a free Covid-19 test, you should visit NYC Health Hospitals. There are facilities at JFK, LGA, and EWR airports and in New York City.

December 11, 2020
Indoor dining is suspended in New York City from December 14 until no determined date. Outdoor dining, delivery, and takeout will remain in place. This suspension will continue to be re-evaluated based on updated data over the coming weeks.

January 12, 2021 – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Order for all travelers before departure to the United States
Effective on January 26, 2021, all “air passengers are required to get a viral test (a test for current infection) within the three days before their flight to the U.S. departs, and provide written documentation of their laboratory test result (paper or electronic copy) to the airline or provide documentation of having recovered from COVID-19. Airlines must confirm the negative test result for all passengers or documentation of recovery before they board. If a passenger does not provide documentation of a negative test or recovery or chooses not to take a test, the airline must deny boarding to the passenger.”

Read more

January 18, 2021
Following the CDC’s announcement, President Donald Trump signed a proclamation on January 18, 2021, to lift the restrictions on entry into the U.S. that he had imposed in previous proclamations in March 2020.

Read the Proclamation

However, this information was denied by Jen Psaki, Press Secretary for Joe Biden’s Administration. She tweeted “This is not the time to lift restrictions on international travel […], in fact, we plan to strengthen public health measures around international travel”.
We will certainly know more after Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20.

January 21, 2021
Joe Biden signed an Executive Order on promoting safety in Domestic and International Travel, corroborating the CDC announcement (January 12).

Read the Executive Order

January 25, 2021
New Proclamation of Joe Biden extending the interdiction of entry decided by Trump in March 2020. It suspends the “entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of noncitizens who were physically present within the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom (excluding overseas territories outside of Europe), the Republic of Ireland, and the Federative Republic of Brazil […] and the Republic of South Africa during the 14 days preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States.”

Read the Proclamation

February 8, 2021
“Governor Cuomo Announces New York City Indoor Dining Can Reopen Early on February 12” following strict guidelines.

February 10, 2021
Governor Cuomo Announces Sports and Entertainment Events in Major Stadiums and Arenas Can Reopen with Limited Spectators Beginning February 23“. One of the conditions is that all staff and spectators receive a negative PCR test 72h before the event.

February 11, 2021
Statement from Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker on Updated CDC Guidance.
According to the guidance, ‘Asymptomatic fully vaccinated individuals,’ meaning those who have received both shots and at least two weeks have passed since the second shot, are no longer required to quarantine within 90 days after the second shot.

February 17, 2021
Governor Cuomo Announced:
– Indoor Family Entertainment Centers Can Open March 26 (25% max capacity),
– Outdoor Amusement Parks Can Open April 9 (33% max capacity),
– Camps Can Begin to Plan for Summer Opening.
Sanitary measures will be implemented as usual (face coverings, social distancing, health screening with temperature checks).

March 3, 2021
Governor Cuomo stated that Event, Arts and Entertainment venues can reopen at 33% capacity beginning April 2, with the regular set of sanitary measures.

April 1, 2021
Starting today, asymptomatic and fully vaccinated domestic travelers are no longer required to quarantine after entering New York from another U.S. State or U.S. Territory. While no longer required, the NYS Department of Health still recommends quarantine after domestic travel as an added precaution.
Mandatory quarantine remains in effect for international travelers.

April 2, 2021
Governor Cuomo confirmed that performing arts and entertainment venues can reopen at 33 percent capacity today. Venues can host up to 100 people indoors or up to 200 people outdoors. If all attendees present proof of completed vaccination or recent negative test result prior to entry, capacity can increase up to 150 people indoors or up to 500 people outdoors.

April 10, 2021
Changes are made to the New York State travel advisory concerning domestic and international travelers!
Now asymptomatic travelers entering New York from another country, U.S. state, or territory are no longer required to test or quarantine.
Yet quarantine is still recommended for travelers who are not fully vaccinated or have not recovered from Covid-19 (this part is a bit confusing, and I believe that they will clarify it in the future).

April 26, 2021
Starting May 15, offices will be able to increase their seating capacity to 75%; 50% for sports venues and casinos.
Outdoor public event venues (including stadiums), will be able to accommodate 33% of spectators starting May 19.

April 28, 2021
The curfew for outdoor seating at restaurants will be lifted from May 17, and from May 31 for indoor seating.
Beginning May 3, seating will be allowed in New York City bars.

May 5, 2021
Governor Cuomo announced that Broadway Theaters are ready to reopen at 100% capacity on September 14, 2021.

May 17, 2021
+ Starting May 22, the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets will install vaccine sections in the stadium.
+ Announcing the return of the New York City Marathon for its 50th anniversary on November 7, 2021.
+ Radio City Music Hall will reopen for the first time in a year to host the Tribeca Film Festival’s closing ceremony.

June 1, 2021
Bars and restaurants curfew is lifted.

June 3, 2021
Beginning June 11, Citi Field will be able to open at 90% capacity (vaccinated public). Cuomo also announced the opening of New York International Auto Show with ticket sales starting June 30.

June 15, 2021
70% of New Yorkers are now vaccinated. Cuomo then announced that New York State’s health measures – including limits on social gatherings, capacity restrictions, social distancing, cleaning and disinfection, health screening, and contact information for tracing – are now optional for retail, food services, offices, gyms and fitness centers, family recreation and entertainment, hair salons, barbershops, and personal care services, among other commercial establishments.
Masks are still required for unvaccinated individuals. In addition, state health guidelines remain in effect for large indoor event venues (more than 5,000 people), preschools and elementary schools, public transportation, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, nursing homes, and health care facilities, according to CDC guidelines.
Proof of vaccination or negative Covid-19 testing can be used to eliminate or reduce social distancing. But only fully vaccinated individuals can remove masks.

NY State guidelines in a nutshell

Travel restriction remains in place for individuals coming from the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, The Republic of Ireland, the Federative Republic of Brazil and the Republic of South Africa (Biden Proclamation, January 25, 2021).

Health protocol as of April 10, 2021, for ALL PERSON traveling to New York:
– There are generally no quarantine, work furlough, or testing requirements for asymptomatic travelers.
– Upon arrival, ravelers must fill out the Traveler Health Form,
– Monitor symptoms daily from the day of arrival in New York through day 14,
– Continue strict adherence to all recommended non-pharmaceutical interventions, including hand hygiene and the use of face coverings.

Domestic Travelers
– Covid-19 testing 3-5 days after arrival is a recommendation as well as self-quarantine if not fully vaccinated.

International Travelers
– CDC and New York State recommend delaying international travel until the traveler is fully vaccinated (FDA approved).
International travelers must comply with CDC requirements, which currently include proof of negative test or recent COVID recovery in order to board airplanes heading to the US.
– Covid-19 testing is recommended 3-5 days after arrival in NY, even if fully vaccinated.

For a free Covid-19 test, you should visit NYC Health Hospitals. There are facilities at JFK, LGA, and EWR airports and in New York City.

What is open in the city?

Many places remain closed during the quarantine: bars, restaurants, hotels, tourist monuments, museums, cinemas, theaters… as well as schools and universities.

The main tourist places are closed:
Statue of Liberty: partial reopening of the grounds of the Statue of Liberty since July 20, 2020.
– Ellis Island: open with restrictions
– One World Observatory: open with strict conditions
– 9/11 Memorial & Museum: open
– High Line: open since July 16, 2020. More info.
– The Vessel: opening on September 2, 2020
– Edge Observation Deck: opening on September 2, 2020
– Museums (MoMA, MET, Intrepid, Whitney…): open on August 24, 2020.

  Museum reopening dates

The list will be updated as we go along. For the moment the openings are official for the following museums:
Museum of the City of New York : August 27, 2020
MoMA: August 27, 2020
American Folk Art Museum: August 28, 2020
MET: August 29, 2020
Whitney Museum: September 3, 2020
American Museum of Natural History: September 9, 2020
The Bronx Museum of Art: September 9, 2020
FDNY Fire Museum: September 9, 2020
Ripley’s Believe it or Not: September 10, 2020
DiMenna Children’s History Museum: outdoor exhibition open
9/11 Museum: September 12, 2020
Museo del Barrio: September 12, 2020
Brooklyn Museum: September 12, 2020
Cloisters : September 12, 2020
Museum of Jewish Heritage: Sptember 13, 2020
New Museum : September 15, 2020
Museum of Arts and Design: September 17, 2020
Noguchi Museum: September 27, 2020
Tenement Museum : mid-September, 2020
Guggenheim Museum: October 3, 2020

– Circle Line Cruises: open
– Empire State Building: open on July 20, 2020 (More info)
– Top of the Rock: open
– Central Park: open
– Hop On Hop Off tours: closed
– Governors Island: open since July 15, 2020 (more info)
– Broadway musicals: suspended until May 30 2021. More info.
– NBA, MLB, NHL games: Public allowed to games with strict sanitary measures. More info.
New York Botanical Garden: open
Public transport remains open, but with less frequency.


© Johnny Vacar

What are the consequences for your trip to New York?

I have another article on this matter, you can find it here:
Covid 19: What are the consequences for your trip to New York City?


© Johnny Vacar

When should we all be able to go to New York City?

Very good question!
It isn’t easy to know at the moment for EU, South African, and Brazilian residents. First of all, each of our Countries and States is implementing its solutions against the pandemic. And most importantly, we are waiting for the US to fix the situation and let us cross their borders again.
If you’re a domestic traveler or coming from a country with no specific travel restrictions, please refer to the first paragraph of this post.


© Johnny Vacar


I hope this Covid-19 pandemic is affecting you as little as possible. It’s better to lose a trip than life.
I don’t want to start a debate. I want to keep you informed. I wish you to be patient and strong. Be careful if you go out there.
I keep working and updating my articles on NYCTT. I am here for any questions you might have. Check my social networks where I try to distract you from bad news 😉
You can also watch this video made by our photographer, Johnny Vacar, New York On Pause.


My fist trip to New York was in 2007 when I was working for an airline company. I was born in the US, I lived in Mexico, in Europe in between Belgium, Spain and France… Well, let’s say I know about travelling! I bring my experience of NYC to the blog, to provide the best travel tips you could imagine!

2 commentaires

  1. Dianne says:
    Thanks for the opening updates. Keep them coming!

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