Travel to New York City during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

Editor’s Note — Coronavirus cases remain high across the globe. Health officials caution that travel increases your chances of getting and spreading the virus. Staying home is the best way to stem transmission. Below is information on what to know if you still plan to travel, last updated on May 20.

(CNN) — 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

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said he is targeting July 1 for New York City’s “full reopening,” including “full-strength” business at stores, theaters and restaurants.
New York City was the US epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, with hospitals struggling to cope with the influx of patients. Now, cases, hospitalizations and deaths are declining.

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

New York is subject to US government rules, meaning travel from Brazil, China, the European Schengen Area, India, Iran, Ireland, South Africa and the United Kingdom is not permitted. Exemptions are available for US citizens, family members or permanent residents. Travel from all other countries is allowed.

All air travelers entering the United States are now required to have a negative Covid-19 test result.

What are the restrictions?

New York state has changed its rules for incoming travelers.

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.

All travelers, with limited exceptions, must continue to fill out the state’s Traveler Health Form upon entering New York.

Every air traveler entering the US 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?

Rougly 33,090 total confirmed and probable deaths, and almost 945,000 total confirmed or probable cases, were registered as of May 20. Cases, hospitalizations and deaths were declining with test positivity of about 3%.

What can visitors expect?

New York’s busy streets fell quiet at the start of the pandemic and recovery has been slow in the year since, although many areas, including Brooklyn, are busy again.

So instead of limiting a restaurant’s indoor dining to 50% capacity, for example, the space will be free to welcome as many guests or groups of guests as can be spaced six feet apart. The numbers of people allowed for indoor and outdoor social gatherings will increase.

Indoor arenas are allowed to operate at 30% capacity. Fans still need to wear masks and test negative for Covid-19 within 72 hours of the event

Museums are open, but some are mandating timed reservations. Many are gradually increasing capacity as the city eases restrictions.

The state of New York has launched the Excelsior Pass, which allows people who have received a negative test or a vaccination in New York state to provide proof of their status. The digital pass is not a requirement for venues or events that require testing or vaccinations to enter, so a traveler from another state could use their own vaccination card or lab test result to enter.

Useful links

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Joe Minihane, Julia Buckley, Marnie Hunter and Forrest Brown contributed to this report

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