Traveling to New York during Covid-19: what you need to know before you go

CNN Staff

If you’re planning on traveling to New York, here’s what you need to know and expect regarding Covid-19 if you want to visit.

The last news

New York State Governor Kathy Hochul announced Sept. 7 that face masks are now optional in several settings where they were previously required.

For tourists visiting New York, this includes:

• Public transport (like subways and buses)
• Rental vehicles (such as taxis, limos and Uber rides)
• Airports

The basics

Broadway theater operators are now allowing theatergoers to wear an optional mask, according to the Broadway League.

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has lifted its requirement for travelers to test negative for Covid-19 before entering the United States.

The city’s Key to NYC requirements were lifted on March 7.

Proof of vaccination is no longer required for patrons of restaurants, gyms and indoor entertainment venues in the city.

While the CDC still recommends everyone 2 and older wear a properly fitting mask on public transportation, masks are currently not required on planes, trains, and other public transportation.

What is offered

It’s the ultimate city break. New York has the largest city skyline in the world; the culture of the Guggenheim at MoMA; spectacular cuisine ranging from Chinese specialties from Flushing to Italian delights from the Bronx; and the green sweep of Central Park to the bustling Lower East Side.

who can go

Fully immunized travelers from abroad (i.e. people who are not U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents) are permitted to enter the United States, including New York.

US citizens or lawful permanent residents do not need vaccinations to return to the United States.

New York imposes no restrictions on domestic travelers.

What are the restrictions?

Unvaccinated travelers from abroad are no longer allowed to enter the United States, with some exceptions. Among these exceptions are unvaccinated children under the age of 18.

New York State’s travel advisory expired in June 2021 and travelers no longer need to submit travel health forms. The state continues to encourage all travelers to follow CDC advice.

What is the Covid situation?

Despite the latest relaxation of rules, New York’s Covid Alert System notes that there are still high levels of transmission of Covid-19 in the city. Although optional, visitors and residents are still advised to:

• Wear a high quality mask in all indoor public places and around crowds outdoors
• Stay up to date on vaccinations
• Test before and after a trip or gathering.

As of September 7, more than 41,800 confirmed and probable deaths and nearly 2.85 million confirmed or probable cases have been recorded since the start of the pandemic. The test positivity rate for the city has been 9.2% over the past seven days

What can visitors expect?

Despite Broadway’s optional mask update, owners and operators will still encourage audience members to wear masks in all of its 41 Broadway theaters.

Masking protocols will be decided on a monthly basis as the league continues to monitor science, the Broadway League said.

Restaurants, cinemas and other places are open. The Key to NYC policy — allowing indoor access only to vaccinated guests — expired in March.

Click here for locations for rapid Covid-19 tests in the five boroughs.

Useful links

New York State Covid-19 Microsite

CDC Travel Health

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

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