New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced August 3 that vaccines will be mandated for employees and patrons of New York’s indoor dining, fitness and entertainment venues.
The “Key to NY pass” will launch August 16 and begin being enforced September 13, he said. Final details of the program are expected to be announced the week of August 16.
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.
Nearly all pandemic restrictions were lifted recently 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.
The mayor has endorsed CDC guidance recommending masking indoors, regardless of vaccination status, but has not issued a mask mandate.
The state’s restrictions remain in effect for large-scale indoor event venues, defined as indoor places that hold more than 5,000 attendees.
New York City was the US epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, with hospitals struggling to cope with the influx of patients. But in 2021, it’s shown a strong recovery.
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 August 3, more than 33,500 total confirmed and probable deaths and nearly 980,000 total confirmed or probable cases were registered. There’s been a test positivity rate of about 2.46% in the past 28 days, a rate that’s increasing in recent weeks.
What can visitors expect?
New York’s busy streets fell quiet at the start of the pandemic, but they are getting busy again. Restaurants, movie theaters and other venues that appeal to tourists can now operate at full capacity if they choose.
The city is strongly recommending masking indoors, but has decided not to make it a mandate. However, vaccination will soon be mandated for employees and patrons of indoor dining, fitness and entertainment venues.
The “Key to NY pass” will launch August 16 and begin being enforced September 13, according to an announcement on August 3 by Mayor de Blasio.
Broadway remains set to fully reopen in September, and tickets are now on sale. You can see a listing of shows at Broadway.com. The Empire State Building’s 86th floor Observatory is open.
Cautions do remain in place though. and you’ll need to remain flexible. For instance, the Metropolitan Museum of Art still requires visitors to wear a mask, even if you’re fully vaccinated.
A trip to NYC could cost you less now, too. Mayor de Blasio signed an executive order eliminating the 5.875% hotel room occupancy tax rate through August 31.
Getting in and out of the often-dreaded LaGuardia Airport might be easier this summer with the early completion of Terminal C’s new outer roadway system, part of a massive overhaul of the airport that will eventually include a mass transit link to Manhattan.
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.