NYC - The Official Guide

Health and Safety Guidelines

Guidelines by Category

Below, find links to recommended health and safety guidelines by business category. These will be updated as we receive additional information.

Photo: Julienne Schaer

Retail

NYC is one of the world’s great shopping capitals. As stores across the City reopen, retailers are adopting new measures to help keep customers safe. To know what to expect, see this short list of new practices.

Physical Distancing
• Whenever possible, maintain six or more feet of distance between individuals or groups.
• Stores are limited to 50% capacity, inclusive of employees and customers.
• Small spaces, like elevators, should only be occupied by one person or group at a time.
• Stores should post social distancing markers, like signs or tape, to help shoppers maintain six or more feet of distance from one another.
• Stores should encourage contactless payment options.
• Customers should be encouraged to bag their own purchases.
• For the time being, self-serve bars and samplers will be closed.

Protective Equipment and Cleaning
• Staff and customers should wear cloth face coverings that fit snugly over the nose and mouth, unless it is medically unsafe to do so. Face coverings should be washed and changed frequently.
• Plastic shields or other physical barriers are encouraged at registers.
• Stores should make handwashing stations or hand sanitizer dispensers available to customers.
• Fitting rooms should be equipped with cleaning and hygiene supplies, like hand sanitizer, and should be cleaned and disinfected after each customer’s use.
• Stores should be cleaned and disinfected daily.
• Employees should wear gloves when handling food products.
• Stores should prohibit shared food and beverages, like at buffet bars.  

Screening
• If any employee or customer tests positive for the coronavirus, stores must notify the local and state health departments, and make efforts to notify anyone who entered the location 48 hours before the individual began experiencing symptoms or tested positive, whichever came earlier.
• Employees who are sick must stay home. If employees become sick at work, they must return home immediately.
• Stores must implement daily health screening for their employees, like temperature checks.

For more information, visit ny.gov.
 

Courtesy, Wythe Hotel

Hotels

The five boroughs offer a range of accommodations in neighborhoods across the City. Guests should check with individual properties for specific cleaning and safety measures, but the American Hotel & Lodging Association has released a Safe Stay Guide that offers some best practices. Below is a general overview that incorporates those practices, along with several key safety protocols from the New York Hotel Trades Council.

Physical Distancing
• Whenever possible, maintain six feet of distance between individuals or groups.
• Hotels should post social distancing markers, like signs or tape, to help guests maintain distance.
• Lobby furniture and other public seating should be rearranged to help maintain physical distance.
• Traffic should be minimized in enclosed spaces, such as elevators and stairwells. Where possible, hotels should consider limiting the number of individuals in an elevator at one time.
• During a stay, housekeeping should not enter a room unless specifically requested or approved by a guest.
• Front desk employees should maintain physical distance. Where employees interact directly with guests at their workstations, hotels may install physical barriers, such as Plexiglas or clear plastic guards.
• Hotels should encourage contactless payment options.
• Room service should be replaced with no-contact delivery.
• Self-parking options will be encouraged.
• If a property provides valet service, vehicles should be disinfected following that service.
• Van and shuttle service may be limited, and similar disinfecting and cleaning processes should be followed.
• Hotels should refer to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) pools and hot tubs guidelines for specific recommendations.
• Meeting and convention spaces should follow the CDC recommendations on physical distancing.

Protective Equipment and Cleaning
• Employees and guests are required to wear cloth face coverings that fit snugly over the nose and mouth, unless it is medically unsafe to do so. Face coverings should be washed and changed frequently. Guests over the age of two are required to wear a mask in all public areas of a hotel, and will be provided with a mask if they don’t have one on hand.
• Employees and guests should also frequently wash their hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Hand sanitizer dispensers should be available at reception and employee entrances, as well as high-contact areas including lobbies, restaurant entrances, meeting spaces, elevator landings, pools, exercise areas and other public spaces.
• High-touch areas, including check-in counters and elevators, must be cleaned and disinfected at least once daily.
• Elevator buttons and handrails should be disinfected regularly.
• Housekeeping staff should clean their hands or change gloves between cleaning rooms and wait at least 15 minutes before entering a room to allow adequate time for air exchange following the guest’s departure. Housekeeping will not clean a room while a guest is inside.
• All single-use items that were used by a guest or left after their stay should be disposed of.
• Cleaning and disinfecting protocols require particular attention be paid to nonporous items like television remote controls, toilet seats, water faucet handles and temperature panels.
• Laundry, including linens and towels, should be washed according to CDC guidelines. Dirty linens should be bagged in the guest room before being transported to the laundry facility.

Screening
• If any employee or guest tests positive for the coronavirus or exhibits symptoms, hotels should notify the local and state health departments, and cooperate with contact tracing efforts.
• Employees who are sick must stay home. If employees become sick at work, they must return home immediately.
• Hotels must implement health screening for their employees, like temperature checks, according to CDC guidelines.
• Employees will receive Covid-19 safety training and facility sanitation protocols as recommended by the CDC.
• If a guest tests positive for the coronavirus or exhibits symptoms, the affected room should be removed from service and quarantined for at least 24 hours. The room should not be returned to service until it has undergone enhanced cleaning and disinfection.

For more information, visit ahla.com.
 

Photo: Jen Davis

Restaurants


New York City’s dining scene offers unparalleled cuisine from around the world. Restaurants in the five boroughs began opening for outdoor service during Phase 2 of Governor Cuomo’s New York Forward plan. Restaurants were slated to be allowed to resume indoor dining during Phase 3, but those plans have been postponed, with no new date set.

Physical Distancing
• All tables must be at least six feet from any other table, seat, patron or pedestrian thoroughfare.
• Whenever tables cannot be separated by at least six feet, a physical barrier, like plastic sheeting, must be placed between them.
• Indoor capacity must be no more than 50% of the maximum occupancy, exclusive of employees.
• Individuals seated at the same table must be part of the same group, though they may be from different households.
• There is a maximum of 10 people per table.
• Seating at bar tables and communal tables is permitted if at least six feet can be maintained between parties.
• Restaurants should post social distancing markers, like signs or tape, to help maintain six or more feet of distance from individuals or groups.
• Restaurants should limit in-person gatherings, like staff meetings, whenever possible.

Protective Equipment and Cleaning
• Staff are required to wear cloth face coverings that fit snugly over the nose and mouth, unless it is medically unsafe to do so. Face coverings should be washed and changed frequently.
• Patrons are encouraged to wear face coverings as well, both while seated (when not eating or drinking) and in spaces inside and outside the restaurant.
• Employees must frequently wash their hands with soap and water.
• If wearing gloves, employees who are busing tables must replace the gloves before and after cleaning and disinfecting tables.
• Restaurants should limit the sharing of objects, like kitchen tools, as well as the touching of shared surfaces, like touch screens.
• Restaurants should provide and maintain handwashing stations and hand sanitizer.
• Establishments must be regularly cleaned and disinfected, at least after each shift, daily or more frequently.
• Equipment must be regularly cleaned and disinfected using registered disinfectants, including at least as often as employees change workstations.
• In food trucks or at other concessions, employees should wear gloves or regularly use hand sanitizer.
• In the event someone is confirmed to have the coronavirus, restaurants must provide for the cleaning and disinfection of exposed areas.
• Restaurants should prohibit the use of devices like buzzers to provide alerts to customers that seating or an order is available, unless those devices are cleaned and disinfected between use.
• If menus are non-disposable, restaurants should ensure that they are cleaned and disinfected between use.
• Restaurants should encourage customers to view menus online, where possible.
• Condiments provided to consumers should be in single-use disposable containers or reusable containers that are regularly cleaned and/or disinfected.
• Restaurants must use pre-packaged or pre-rolled silverware. Silverware must be pre-rolled while employees wear masks and gloves.

Screening
• If any employee tests positive for the coronavirus, restaurants must notify the local and state health departments, and cooperate with contact tracing efforts.
• Employees who are sick must stay home. If employees become sick at work, they must return home immediately.
• Restaurants must implement daily health screening for their employees, like temperature checks.

Accessibility Requirements for Restaurants Offering Outdoor Dining
The NYC Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities has released requirements for physical accessiblity in restaurants with outdoor seating. Below are a selection of these; read the guidelines in full at nyc.gov.
• A 36-inch wide route needs to be maintained throughout the seating area.
• At least 5% but not less than one of dining surfaces for seating and standing must be accessible and distributed throughout the facility.
• Any change in level greater than half an inch triggers requirements for a ramp.

For more information, visit ny.gov. In addition, the National Restaurant Association website offers a variety of resources.

Governors Island. Photo: Kreg Holt

Attractions & Museums

When it comes to attractions, museums, zoos, botanical gardens and the like, New York State has divided its health and safety guidelines into two broad categories—low-risk outdoor activities and low-risk indoor activities. Below, please find a short list of practices by type, and note that these venues are permitted to open during Phase 4 of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s New York Forward Plan.

1. Low-Risk Outdoor Activities
These include outdoor attractions, zoos, botanical gardens, nature parks, the grounds of historical sites and cultural institutions, and outdoor museums.

Physical Distancing
• Limit capacity to no more than 33% of maximum occupancy, including guests and workforce.
• Limit indoor capacity for guests who may need to enter, pay and exit in an enclosed area, visit a restroom, etc.
• Maintain six feet of distance between individuals or groups whenever possible.
• Post social distancing markers, like signs or tape, to help guests maintain distance.
• Close high-risk interactive exhibits, like those that invite guests to touch or wear objects.
• Close children’s play areas or exhibits with play equipment, unless these can be cleaned, disinfected and sanitized between each child using the equipment who isn’t a member of the same group.
• Encourage guests to purchase timed tickets in advance, as well as the use of contactless payment options.
• Designate separate entrances and exits whenever possible.

Protective Equipment and Cleaning
• Employees and guests over the age of 2 must wear cloth face coverings that fit snugly over the nose and mouth, unless it is medically unsafe to do so.
• Employees and guests should frequently wash their hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Hand sanitizer dispensers should be available throughout common areas.
• Conduct regular cleaning and disinfecting—more frequently for high-risk areas.
• Discontinue the use of headsets or other equipment loaned or rented to guests, unless they can be disinfected after each use.
• Provide digital or single-use maps if applicable. When reusable maps are provided, make sure they are cleaned and disinfected after every use.
• Clean and disinfect all exposed areas in the event that an individual is confirmed to have Covid-19.

Screening
• Implement mandatory daily health screening for employees and, where applicable, contractors and vendors. These may include temperature checks and questionnaires.
• Notify state and local health departments immediately after being informed of any positive Covid-19 tests.
• Designate a site safety monitor whose responsibilities include continuous compliance with the site safety plan.

2. Low-Risk Indoor Activities
These include indoor attractions, museums, historical sites, aquariums and other related venues.

Physical Distancing
• Limit capacity to no more than 25% of maximum occupancy, including guests and workforce.
• Maintain six feet of distance between individuals or groups wherever possible.
• Post social distancing markers, like signs or tape, to help guests maintain distance.
• Permit group tours only for members of the same household or party, up to a maximum capacity under social gathering requirements at a time. This includes both employees and guests.
• Close high-risk interactive exhibits, like those that invite guests to touch or wear objects.
• Close children’s play areas or exhibits with play equipment, unless these can be cleaned, disinfected and sanitized between each child using the equipment who isn’t a member of the same group.
• Encourage guests to purchase timed tickets in advance, as well as the use of contactless payment options.
• Designate separate entrances and exits whenever possible.

Protective Equipment and Cleaning
• Employees and guests over the age of 2 must wear cloth face coverings that fit snugly over the nose and mouth, unless it is medically unsafe to do so.
• Employees and guests should frequently wash their hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Hand sanitizer dispensers should be available throughout common areas.
• Conduct regular cleaning and disinfecting—more frequently for high-risk areas.
• Discontinue the use of headsets or other equipment loaned or rented to guests unless they can be disinfected after each use.
• Provide digital or single-use maps if applicable. When reusable maps are provided, make sure they are cleaned and disinfected after every use.
• Increase ventilation by outdoor airflow (like opening windows and doors) wherever possible, while maintaining safety protocols.
• Clean and disinfect all exposed areas in the event that an individual is confirmed to have Covid-19.

Screening
• Implement mandatory daily health screening for employees, and, where applicable, contractors and vendors. These may include temperature checks and questionnaires.
• Notify state and local health departments immediately after being informed of any positive Covid-19 tests.
• Designate a site safety monitor whose responsibilities include continuous compliance with the site safety plan.

For more information, visit ny.gov.

Photo: Tagger Yancey IV

Transportation

NYC’s various transportation options make getting around the City like no other place in the world. The system of subways, buses and trains that connect the five boroughs is a critical part of our infrastructure, as are the City’s yellow and green taxis and car services. Here’s some of what you can expect.

1. Subways, Buses and Trains

General Recommendations
• Employees and riders are required to wear cloth face coverings that fit snugly over the nose and mouth, unless it is medically unsafe to do so. Face coverings should be washed and changed frequently.
• Avoid crowds whenever you can. Use the system during off-peak times, or wait for a less crowded train or bus.
• Wash your hands often, especially if you’ve been in a public place. Use soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
• Stay home if you’re sick.
• Note that most person-to-person transactions, meaning cash transactions at booths, have been eliminated.

Protective Equipment and Cleaning
• Subway, Long Island Rail Road and Metro North cars are cleaned at least once daily. All stations are being cleaned twice daily. Note that due to the cleanings, the subway system is not currently operating between 1am and 5am.
• High-touch areas on subways, buses and Access-A-Ride vehicles are being disinfected every 24 hours.
• Terminals are being cleaned throughout the day. Trains and buses that were in service during the day but out of service at night are also being cleaned.
• Hand sanitizer and other protective equipment are being made available to riders in stations.
• Vending machines where riders can purchase masks will be available in select stations.
• Expect reminders about safety and social distancing, including floor decals and station announcements.
• The MTA is using new cleaning technology to make the system safer, including materials that serve as a protective layer on surfaces to prevent microbes from growing (antimicrobial biostats); ultraviolet light treatments; and electrostatic sprayers to help disperse disinfectant when cleaning subways and buses.

For more information, visit mta.info.

2. Taxis and Car Services

General Recommendations
• Drivers and passengers are required to wear cloth face coverings that fit snugly over the nose and mouth, unless it is medically unsafe to do so. Face coverings should be washed and changed frequently.
• Passengers should ride in the back seat.
• Whenever possible, passengers and drivers should leave the windows open to increase air circulation in the car.
• If there is a partition between the front and back seats, it should be closed when passengers are in the vehicle. If the vehicle doesn’t have a partition, vehicle owners should consider putting a clear plastic barrier between the front and back seats. 
• Group rides are not permitted right now, though this policy does not apply to paratransit vehicles.
• Drivers and passengers should wash their hands often. Use soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
• Stay home if you’re sick.

 Protective Equipment and Cleaning
• Vehicles should be cleaned and disinfected routinely, paying special attention to high-touch surfaces and objects, such as door handles, window buttons, locks, payment machines, arm rests, seat cushions, buckles and seat belts.
• Drivers should keep vehicle doors open while cleaning and disinfecting.
• Drivers should wear disposable gloves when cleaning, and only use those gloves once. After use, drivers should wash their hands or use hand sanitizer.
• Drivers should wait until surfaces have dried before giving rides to passengers.

Note that it is illegal for drivers to discriminate against passengers on the basis of race, nation of origin or other identities. To report discrimination, call 311 or visit nyc.gov/cchr.

For more information, visit nyc.gov/tlc, uber.com and lyft.com.

Courtesy, Port Authority of NY & NJ

Airports

New York City’s area airports have all adopted new cleaning policies and measures to ensure public health and safety. Here is a short list of the guidelines travelers should expect at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and LaGuardia Airport (LGA) in Queens, along with nearby Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) in New Jersey.

Notes for Travelers
• Everyone is required to wear cloth face coverings that fit snugly over the nose and mouth, unless it is medically unsafe to do so. Face coverings should be washed and changed frequently.
• Terminal access is restricted to ticketed passengers and airport employees.
• Whenever possible, maintain six or more feet of distance between individuals or groups.
• Wash your hands often, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
• Stay home if you’re sick.

New Policies and Procedures
• At security checkpoints, expect to place your boarding pass (either paper or electronic) on the pass reader yourself. After scanning, you’ll be asked to hold your boarding pass up to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer for visual inspection.
• Also at security, separate any carry-on food into a clear plastic bag and place that bag into a bin for X-ray screening. (Food often triggers alarms during the screening process.)
• Make sure not to pack any liquids, aerosols or gels in quantities greater than 3.4 ounces in your carry-on luggage, but note that the TSA is allowing passengers to keep up to 12 ounces of hand sanitizer with them through the security process.
• All TSA officers will be wearing masks and gloves; eye protection and face shields are optional.
• TSA officers will change gloves after each pat-down.
• High-touch surfaces will be routinely disinfected.
• Plastic shielding or other physical barriers may be present in many areas throughout the airports.
• As usual, arrive early before your flight to leave yourself plenty of time to clear security and get to your gate.
• Individual airlines have adopted new policies as well. Check with your carrier for specific information before flying.
• Remember that travelers from multiple states must quarantine upon arrival in New York City, per the governor’s instructions.

For more information, visit the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s website, panynj.org, and tsa.gov.