Masks? Vaccination Proof? The Latest COVID Restrictions in New York

From the city’s new vaccination requirements to updated mask guidelines, here is what to know about traveling to New York.

Masks? Vaccination Proof? The Latest COVID Restrictions in New York

In New York, vaccinations will be required for indoor dining and shows and masks are recommended indoors, including for the vaccinated.

Photo by Shutterstock

On June 15, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the vast majority of the state’s pandemic-era restrictions were a thing of the past. He stated that most businesses in New York, including hotels, restaurants, bars, and stores, would no longer be required by the state to implement social-distancing measures, capacity limits, or health screening protocols—they could continue to do so if they choose.

But not more than a month and a half later, some restrictions are back, notably a new requirement to show proof of vaccination when dining indoors and attending shows that goes into effect on August 16.

Additionally, on August 2, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that amid an ongoing vaccine push, the city will now “strongly recommend that people wear masks in indoor settings, even if you’re vaccinated.”

The new guidance “is based on our review of the latest scientific evidence showing that the Delta variant of the coronavirus can spread even more easily than was previously thought,” according to Dave Chokshi, the New York commissioner for the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Mayor de Blasio and New York Governor Cuomo are making a strong push to encourage vaccinations in an effort to combat a potential surge due to the Delta variant.

Are masks required in New York?

In New York State, masks are required on public transit, in schools, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, nursing homes, and healthcare settings—regardless of vaccination status.

In New York City, they are also now required at Broadway shows (along with proof of vaccination), and as of August 2, they are strongly recommended indoors, for both the vaccinated and unvaccinated.

As per guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), unvaccinated individuals should continue to wear a mask in all public settings—outdoors and indoors, Mayor de Blasio stated on August 2.

Is Broadway open?

Bruce Springsteen’s one-man show is the only performance currently running on Broadway. Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu’s Pass Over is set to open on August 4 at the August Wilson Theatre. Most other theaters will open in September or October after being shuttered since March 2020.

Broadway theatergoers will need to prove they’ve been vaccinated for COVID-19 and masks will be required when theaters reopen.

Are hotels in New York open?

Yes. All hotels and lodgings in New York can welcome guests. Some major hotels that temporarily closed during the pandemic due to a drop in demand have recently reopened. Examples include the Plaza Hotel, which reopened May 20; the Peninsula New York, which reopened June 1; and Ritz-Carlton, New York, Central Park, which reopened June 2. Park Hyatt New York and Mandarin Oriental reopened on April 1. The 873-room Westin New York at Times Square reopened on April 29.

Are there any restrictions on travel to New York?

The quarantine requirements for domestic travelers arriving into New York State that Governor Cuomo put in place last June expired on April 1, 2021. All New York area airports are open and flights are operating as scheduled.

As of January 26, a nationwide order mandated by the CDC requires international arrivals to provide documentation of negative COVID-19 test results procured within three days of their departure to the United States.

This story was originally published on April 29, 2021, and was updated on August 3, 2021, to include current information. Associated Press contributed reporting.

>> Next: AFAR’s Ultimate Guide to New York City

Devorah Lev-Tov is a Brooklyn-based food and travel journalist who has been published in the New York Times, National Geographic, Vogue, Bon Appetit, and more.
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