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New York City travel during Covid-19: What you need to know

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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 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 “Key to NYC” vaccination requirement became effective in August. It requires proof of vaccination for patrons and employees of the city’s indoor dining, fitness and entertainment venues.

Some of the venues of interest to travelers that are part of the requirement include restaurants, nightclubs, concert

Mayor Bill de Blasio 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

Fully vaccinated travelers from any nation are now allowed entry into the United States, including New York City.

But starting Monday, November 29, the United States will restrict travel from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe because of the emerging Omicron variant.

Unvaccinated travelers from abroad are no longer allowed to enter, with very limited exceptions. Among those exceptions are unvaccinated children younger than 18.

All travelers 2 and older entering the United States are also required to have a negative Covid-19 test result taken within three days of departing for the United States.

New York doesn’t have any restrictions on domestic travelers.

What are the restrictions?

Asymptomatic travelers entering New York from another 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 November 25, almost 34,800 total confirmed and probable deaths and roughly 1.16 million total confirmed or probable cases were registered. There’s been a test positivity rate of about 2.13% in the past 28 days. This rate has been ticking up in recent weeks.

What can visitors expect?

Restaurants, movie theaters and other venues are open — but their indoor spaces are open only to fully vaccinated patrons. Patrons younger than 12, who are not yet eligible for vaccination, will be allowed inside with a face mask requirement except when they are eating and drinking.

The city is strongly recommending masking indoors, but has decided not to make it a mandate. The “Key to NYC” vaccine mandate has been in full effect since September 13.

The Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting is scheduled for December 1. The ceremony starts at 7 p,m.

An in-person New Year’s Eve celebration is set to take place this year in Times Square. Attendees will be required to show proof of vaccination.

Broadway has reopened, but you must be vaccinated to attend and masks are required except when eating and drinking. You can see a listing of shows at

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, like all NYC museums, requires visitors 12 and older to be vaccinated, and children 2 to 11 must wear a mask. Masks are required indoors at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

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

Among the many locations you can get rapid Covid-19 testing are these spots frequented by tourists:

— LaGuardia Airport in the Terminal B parking lot

— John F. Kennedy Airport Terminal 5 Airtrain Station

— Staten Island Ferry Terminal (Level 1, next to the North Shore Esplanade exit)

— Times Square (701 Seventh Avenue between West 47th and West 48th streets)

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