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.
As of November 8, 2021, international travelers may once again enter the country to visit New York City. All travelers over the age of 18 must be fully vaccinated. Full vaccination occurs two weeks after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or two weeks after receiving the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Vaccines listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization, such as the AstraZeneca vaccine, as well as FDA- or WHO-approved mixed doses, also qualify.
President Biden recently announced that starting the week of December 6, all inbound international travelers, regardless of vaccination status, must show proof of a negative Covid-19 test result within the 24 hours prior to departure (this one-day rule takes the place of the current 72-hour-advance regulation). Either a rapid antigen test or a nucleic acid amplification test (like a PCR test) will be accepted. For more information, visit cdc.gov.
As of January 2022, those traveling across land borders will also need to provide proof of vaccination. We will continue to update this page as requirements evolve.
For the latest on international travel requirements, visit cdc.gov.
The New York City Department of Health is recommending that everyone, including those who have been vaccinated or previously infected, wear masks in all public indoor spaces. For more information, visit nyc.gov. In addition, testing protocols for incoming international travelers are being tightened. See the “International Travel” section above for details.
The Key to NYC initiative is 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 have not had the vaccine are required to wear a mask and must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. They are not required to be vaccinated for indoor dining, fitness or entertainment at this time.
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, Sinovac or Covaxin.
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.
Officials at the Centers for Disease Control now recommend that everyone 18 and older get a booster shot six months after receiving a two-course dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines and two months after receiving a single dose of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine. For more information, visit cdc.gov.
As noted above, the New York City Department of Health recommends that everyone, including those who have been vaccinated or previously infected, wear masks in all public indoor spaces.
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 February 2022. Any FDA- or WHO-approved vaccine applies. For international travelers, mixed doses, meaning a combination of an FDA- or WHO-approved vaccines, are acceptable. Masks are also required for audiences inside theaters, except while eating or drinking in designated locations.
Children under 12, when accompanied by a fully vaccinated adult, may enter the theater as long as they can produce one of the following:
• Proof of one dose of an FDA- or WHO-approved vaccine at least 14 days before the performance date
• A negative Covid-19 PCR test performed by a medical provider within 72 hours of the performance start time
• A negative Covid-19 rapid antigen test taken within six hours of the performance start time
The NYC subway continues to operate with 24-hour service. Riders must continue to wear masks.
How to Get Vaccinated
Covid-19 vaccines are available in NYC to all US residents who are 5 and older, including domestic visitors to the five boroughs. Those who are ages 5 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:
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.
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.
(Courtesy NYC & Company)