While New York City is fully open and vaccinations have been a boon to everyday life and local business, Covid-19 remains a reality for all of us. Below you’ll find the most useful and current information for navigating the five boroughs, plus plenty of resources for planning ahead.
On August 16, Mayor de Blasio announced the full details of the Key to NYC Pass, which is now in effect.
Centering on the idea that Covid-19 vaccination is the “key” to safely enjoying the five boroughs in full and supporting the local economy, the plan requires proof of at least one dose of vaccination for all workers and individuals in:
- Indoor dining spaces
- Indoor fitness facilities
- Indoor entertainment and performing arts venues
New Yorkers and visitors age 12 and older are required to show proof of vaccination to participate in indoor activities at New York City restaurants and bars, fitness gyms, and entertainment and recreational settings including movie theaters, music or concert venues, casinos, botanical gardens, commercial event and party venues, museums and galleries, aquariums, zoos, professional sports arenas and indoor stadiums, convention centers and exhibition halls, performing arts theaters, bowling alleys, arcades, indoor play areas, pool and billiard halls, and other recreational games. Proof of vaccination is also required for employees at these establishments. Children under 12 who are not yet eligible for the vaccine are required to wear a mask and must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Eligible proof of vaccination includes the NYC COVID Safe App, the New York State Excelsior App, a photo or hard copy of a CDC vaccination card, official vaccine record, or a photo or hard copy of an official vaccination record of a vaccine administered outside the United States for one of the following vaccines: AstraZeneca/SK Bioscience, Serum Institute of India/COVISHIELD and Vaxzevria, Sinopharm or Sinovac.
Enforcement by the City began on September 13. Penalties for failure to comply start at $1,000 and can reach $5,000 for repeated violations. NYC & Company will work with the City to assist businesses with information and tools to implement these new requirements. Frequently asked questions are available in the Key to NYC FAQ.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends that all individuals in areas of high or substantial transmission wear masks indoors. Mayor de Blasio strongly recommends that all individuals in New York City wear masks indoors.
Broadway theaters in New York City announced that they will require vaccinations for audience members, as well as performers, backstage crew and staff, for all performances through October 2021. Masks are also required for audiences inside theaters, except while eating or drinking in designated locations. For more information, visit broadway.org.
The NYC subway continues to operate with 24-hour service. Riders must continue to wear masks. For more information, visit mta.info.
How to Get Vaccinated
Covid-19 vaccines are available in NYC to all US residents who are 12 and older, including domestic visitors to the five boroughs. Those who are ages 12 through 17 are only eligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which is a two-dose regimen with at least 21 days between shots.
There are many ways to get vaccinated:
- New York City offers this comprehensive vaccine-finder tool, updated on a rolling basis, which includes links to local vaccination centers and pharmacies.
- You may call 877-VAX-4NYC (877-829-4692) to schedule an appointment and for more information.
- A number of sites across the five boroughs are now offering walk-up appointments. You can see these here.
- New York State operates vaccination centers across the City, including those at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens and Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn. Book appointments here.
- See other appointments nationwide with the CDC’s vaccine-finder tool.
To allow visitors access to the vaccine, Mayor de Blasio announced that the City would be operating pop-up vaccination hubs in areas around the five boroughs, including Times Square, Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park and various transit stops; locations may change from week to week. For a list of walk-up sites and for more information, visit nyc.gov.
How to Get Tested
Covid-19 testing is widely available throughout New York City. A number of resources can assist in scheduling PCR or rapid-antigen tests, which usually need to be conducted within a 72-hour window prior to travel (check with your airline or destination for more information):
- New York City offers this comprehensive testing website, which includes a searchable map of all testing locations throughout the five boroughs, along with basic information about the tests themselves.
- New York State’s Covid-19 testing page also includes a searchable map of testing locations across the five boroughs.
- NYC Health & Hospitals website includes information about walk-in testing, as well as locations that will allow pre-registration.
- Quest Diagnostics and Labcorp both offer testing options.
- A number of pharmacies offer convenient Covid-testing options, including CVS and Walgreens.
NYC Travel Restrictions
Quarantine periods for domestic and international travelers entering the state are no longer required (though it remains recommended for those not fully vaccinated). Travelers from out of state or another country no longer need to fill out a traveler health form.
New York State Guidance
At the state level, most coronavirus restrictions were lifted on June 15. The government no longer requires businesses to maintain social distancing or masking and cleaning protocols; businesses are free to continue implementing these measures on an individual basis if they choose. In addition, businesses no longer need to gather patrons’ contact-tracing information.
Restrictions remain in effect for large-scale indoor event venues (more than 5,000 attendees). Proof of vaccination can be used to eliminate social distancing and mask requirements. Unvaccinated or unknown vaccination status individuals who are over the age of four must continue to present proof of a recent negative diagnostic Covid-19 test result and wear masks within the venue. But social distancing can be reduced or eliminated between tested attendees, allowing venues to reach 100 percent capacity in all sections.
Health and safety protocols, like masking and social distancing, remain in place in certain settings, including public transit and schools.
Proof of full vaccination status can be provided by attendees through paper form, digital application or the New York State Excelsior Pass.
For more information, visit ny.gov.