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 latest news
The Christmas Spectacular show starring the Radio City Rockettes has been canceled for the rest of the season because of “increasing challenges from the pandemic,” according to a statement posted Friday, December 17, on the show’s website.
“We had hoped we could make it through the season and are honored to have hosted hundreds of thousands of fans at more than 100 shows over the last seven weeks,” the statement reads.
All tickets for the affected dates will be refunded at the point of purchase, the statement said.
Since December 6, all inbound international travelers 2 and older are required to test within one day of departure for the United States, regardless of vaccination status. This does not affect domestic travel
It’s part of a general tightening of US travel rules because of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
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 halls, museums, performing arts and movie theaters, cabarets, fitness centers, pools and coffee shops with indoor dining.
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 all but eight nations are now allowed entry into the United States, including New York City. The eight nations are under a US travel ban because of the Omicron variant.
On November 29, the United States restricted travel from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Citizens of those nations or foreign travelers who have been to any of them in the past 14 days may not enter the United States, but US citizens and lawful permanent residents who have been to those nations may still enter.
Unvaccinated travelers from abroad are no longer allowed to enter the United States, with very limited exceptions. Among those exceptions are unvaccinated children younger than 18.
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 one day 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 December 17, almost 35,000 total confirmed and probable deaths and roughly 1.22 million total confirmed or probable cases were registered. There’s been a test positivity rate of about 4.1% in the past 28 days. This rate has been rising in recent weeks.
What can visitors expect?
The “Key to NYC” mandate has been in effect since September 13 and is being further tightened in December.
Restaurants, movie theaters and other venues are open. But since December 15, their indoor spaces are open only to vaccinated patrons 5 and older who have had at least one dose of vaccine.
And starting December 27, the website says “people 12 and older participating in public indoor activities will be required to show proof they have received two vaccine doses, except for those who have received the one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.”
By orders of Gov. Kathy Hochul, masks are now required to be worn in all indoor public places in all of New York state unless businesses or venues implement a vaccine requirement through at least January 15.
Some Broadway shows have been canceled this past week. You can see a running list here. For those still open, you must be vaccinated to attend a show, and masks are required except when eating and drinking.
As of December 17, an in-pers
on New Year’s Eve celebration was still set to take place this year in Times Square. Attendees will be required to show proof of vaccination.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art requires visitors 5 and older to show proof of at least one dose of an accepted vaccine. “Starting December 27, visitors 12 and older must show proof that they have received two doses of an accepted two-dose series vaccine or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine,” the museum’s website says.
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 International Airport, in the departures level of Terminal 1, Row H Area; also at the Terminal 5 AirTrain stop
— Staten Island Ferry, St. George Terminal on Staten Island (next to the North Shore Esplanade exit)
— Times Square (701 Seventh Avenue between West 47th and West 48th streets)