Reopening NYC (NY Forward) for New York State (and city)

Sunday, May 2, 2021

New York State COVID Reopening (NY Forward) and NYC

Suppressing the virus is a precondition for reopening. 

All New Yorkers can get tested! Sites run by New York State are free. Check with the others and with your doctor to find out if there will be charges.  

Excelsior Pass is a free and voluntary platform for businesses and individuals that can be used to show secure proof
of a recent negative COVID test or vaccination. There are currently three different types of passes: COVID-19 Vaccination Pass, COVID-19 PCR Test Pass and COVID-19 Antigen Test Pass. To retrieve a Pass, visit the Excelsior Pass website at You will need to provide some basic personal information, including your first and last name, date of birth and zip code. You'll also need to verify your identity with three "challenge questions" whose answers are unique to you. Because we do not save or store your personal information, you will need to enter this information every time you retrieve a new pass. Once you’ve retrieved your Pass, you can print it, save a screenshot, or save it in the Excelsior Pass Wallet mobile app for easy access later. The Excelsior Pass Wallet app is available for free from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Learn more and download the pass at The COVID-19 Vaccination Pass is currently valid for 30 days after the Pass is retrieved. After the pass expires, you can retrieve a new pass from the Excelsior Pass website at

New tool to check NYC Health + Hospitals waiting times to get tested or
Tap Check Testing Wait Times on the Test & Trace Corps page
or check @NYCHealthSystem on Twitter for updates three times a day on wait times.
Find a testing location near you 

If you test positive for COVID, you can request a “Take Care Package” from a contact tracer, which includes enough PPE for two weeks, a thermometer, at-home testing kits for contacts and a pulse oximeter to monitor oxygen levels. Test and Trace will also walk your dog if you’re self-isolating. Call the NYC COVID hotline at 212-COVID19 (212-268-4319) to find out more.

NYC Vaccine for All. New York City is committed to keeping everyone safe and healthy by ensuring that access to COVID-19 vaccines is fair and equitable. COVID-19 vaccines will likely be available for most New Yorkers by mid-2021. Answers to some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Private businesses have the right to refuse service to individuals who are not wearing a mask.

Commercial buildings and retail stores may require temperature checks before entry. Operators of such buildings and businesses have the right to deny entry to anyone who refuses a temperature check, or whose temperature is above the New York State Department of Health’s guidelines.

When riding public transportation systems, masks are mandatory, and New Yorkers should follow all guidelines and protocols when riding, including maintaining social distancing to the extent possible, using hand sanitizer and observing guidance.

IMPORTANT! There is no cure for COVID-19, and vaccine distribution will take months. To prevent the spread of coronavirus

  • wear face coverings when in public
  • maintain distance (6' between people from different households)
  • keep hands clean
  • stay home if sick

Key reopening dates
See NY Forward for guidance and details

Summer 2021. Day and overnight summer camps in New York State can begin to plan for reopening. The Department of Health will issue specific reopening guidance, including details on timing, in the coming weeks.

7/1/2021 Mayor De Blasio set a goal for NYC to be fully reopen

5/19/2021 capacity for large-scale arts and sport venues will increase to 25%. Until May 19, capacity is capped at 20% for outdoor venues with 2,500+ capacity, and 10% for indoor venues with 1,500+ capacity. Proof of a negative Covid-19 test or immunization is required for all attendees. Social distancing and face coverings are required for all attendees, as well as strict adherence to all applicable NYS Department of Health guidance. Small and medium performances and live entertainment events are allowed to reopen. Indoor venues with a capacity of less than 1,500 attendees can reopen at 33% capacity up to 100 people or 150 people with proof of a negative Covid-19 test or immunization from all attendees. Outdoor venues with a capacity of less than 2,500 attendees can reopen at 33% capacity, with up to 200 people or 500 people with proof of a negative Covid-19 test or immunization from all attendees. Social distancing and face coverings will be required for all attendees, as well as strict adherence to all applicable NYS Department of Health guidance.

5/17/2021 curfew will be lifted for bar and restaurant outdoor service and catered events. And on May 31 curfew will be lifted for bar and restaurant indoor service and all events.

5/15/2021 offices will increase to from 50% to 75% capacity.

5/7/2021 indoor dining capacity in NYC will expand to from 50% to 75%.

5/3/2021 seating inside at bars in NYC and masked dancing at catered events, socially-distanced by household groups will be permitted. Catered events at private residences can resume.

5/1/2021 indoor and outdoor graduation and commencement ceremonies will be allowed with limited capacity, depending on event size and location. All event organizers and venues hosting ceremonies must follow the State's strict health and safety protocols, including requiring face masks, social distancing, health screenings and collection of contact tracing information. Detailed guidance for graduation events is available at 

4/26/2021 Audience capacity limits for movie theaters increased to the lesser of 100 or 33%, and capacity limits have increased to 50% for museums, aquariums, zoos, botanical gardens, and other places.

4/19/2021 The curfew for bars and restaurants will be extended to midnight. The curfew for catered events will be extended to 1am. 

4/15/2021 Takeout (to-go) alcoholic beverages (beer, wine and cocktails) has been extended through May 6 with food orders. Restaurants and bars can continue to offer alcohol for takeout or delivery under special rules. Additionally, restaurants and bars are permitted to serve alcohol in expanded outdoor seating.

4/9/2021 Outdoor amusement parks can open with a 33% capacity. Amusement parks must submit reopening plans with health protocols to the New York City Health Department. Face coverings and social distancing will be required for all customers and staff, and customers will be required to have a health screening with temperature checks prior to entry. See Governor’s announcement for more details

4/5/2021 Large performing arts and sports venues reopen with limited capacity. Outdoor venues with 2,500+ capacity are capped at 20%; indoor venues with 1,500+ capacity are capped at 10%. Proof of a negative Covid-19 test or immunization is required for all attendees. Venues must follow the guidelines outlined in the New York State Department of Health’s Interim Guidance for Large Scale Performing Arts and Entertainment Venues during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. (We expect the guidance to be posted shortly on the New York Forward Phase Four Industries webpage.) Check for guidance at (not yet posted as of 4/4/2021).

4/5/2021 The 11pm curfew for casinos, movie theaters, bowling alleys, billiards halls, gyms and fitness centers will be lifted. The 11pm curfew for food and beverage establishments and the 12am curfew for catered events will remain in effect. See Governor’s announcement for more details

4/4/2021 Non-residential events (i.e., gatherings held outside of a household) that involve the gathering of attendees (e.g., wedding receptions, celebrations, and similar private venue events, such as meetings and conferences) may exceed the state’s social gathering limit subject to extra precautions. Such events in New York City are subject to the “In-Person and Catered Events” section of the New York State Department of Health Interim Guidance for Food Services during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, pages 7-10, and the Interim Guidance for New York City Indoor Food Services during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, which has an affirmation at the bottom

4/4/2021 Occupancy of in-person and catered events is limited to the lesser of 50% for a particular area as set by the certificate of occupancy, or 150 people, exclusive of employees and event staff. Important notification and safety requirements apply to events exceeding the state’s social gathering limit, so please read the state guidance carefully. A venue operator hosting an in-person and catered event that exceeds the social gathering limit (currently 50 people) must notify the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC Health Department) at least five days before the event by submitting this form

4/4/2021 New York State officially reopened small and medium size performing arts and entertainment venues. NYS guidance for small and medium scale performing arts and entertainment venues

4/4/2021 Required Local Health Department Notifications for Live Performance: If you wish to offer a live performance that exceeds the social gathering limit (but is within the limits established by the State for performances when the audience is COVID-19 tested or vaccinated) you must notify the New York City Health Department at least five days in advance. Make the notification using this form The Health Department is updating this form to specifically address live performance, but you may begin using it before those updates are made.  

4/1/2021 The New York Mets and New York Yankees can resume playing with spectators in the stadiums. Professional sports in large outdoor stadiums that hold 10,000 people or more will be allowed to reopen at 20 percent capacity. Attendees must show proof of a recent negative test or completed vaccination series prior to entry and are subject to strict state guidance on face coverings, social distancing and health screenings. Vaccination efforts at both Yankee Stadium and Citi Field will still continue during the MLB season. 
Smaller, regional sports venues can also reopen. These are venues that hold 1,500 people indoors or 2,500 people outdoors and initial capacity will be limited to 10 percent indoors and 20 percent outdoors. Attendees must show proof of a recent negative test or completed vaccination series prior to entry and are subject to strict state guidance on face coverings, social distancing and health screenings.

3/31/2021 Revised New York State nursing home visitation guidance was announced to align with guidelines recently released by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The guidance, which permits visitation at all times and for all residents with limited exceptions for unvaccinated residents in areas of high community spread and lower resident vaccination rates, residents with confirmed COVID-19 infection, or those in isolation or quarantine. Facilities must continue to adhere to strong infection control practices.
Source: Rep. Carolyn Maloney's NY-12 COVID Update 3/31/2021
More information on the new guidance can be found at

3/29/2021 statewide travel for sports and recreational activities will be permitted. Currently, travel for sports and recreation is limited to contiguous counties and regions in accordance with New York State Department of Health guidance. 

3/26/2021 Indoor family entertainment centers will be able to reopen with 25% capacity and health protocols.

3/25/2021 Updated Nursing Home Visitation Guidance. The New York State Department of Health revised its nursing home visitation guidance in alignment with guidelines from the CDC and U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The guidance permits visitation at all times and for all residents with limited exceptions for unvaccinated residents in areas with high community spread and lower resident vaccination rates, residents with confirmed COVID-19 infection, and those in isolation or quarantine. Facilities must continue to adhere to strong infection control practices. More information on the new guidance can be found here:

3/19/2021 NYC indoor dining can expand to 50% capacity. 

3/26/2021 Indoor family and entertainment centers and places of amusement can reopen at 25% capacity. Centers must submit reopening plans with health protocols to the New York City Health Department. Face coverings and social distancing will be required for all customers and staff, and customers will be required to have a health screening with temperature checks prior to entry.  

3/22/2021 New York City high school students will return to their campuses.
Indoor fitness classes can resume at 33% capacity. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer asked the Mayor to make this change last month, citing the unfairness of gyms opening in September while boutique fitness studios that offer classes like yoga, cycling, and Pilates had to remain closed.

3/15/2021 Larger events that follow strict guidelines will be permitted. Marriage receptions can be held under limited state guidelines. Events must be approved by the local health department and there will be mandatory testing of all guests before an event. Capacity at weddings and receptions will be limited to no more than 150 people or no more than 50 percent of the venue's capacity, whichever is lower. All patrons must be tested prior to the event. 

3/5/2021 NYC movie theaters may reopen with 25% capacity, new covid-safe protocols and air ventilation. AMC-Kips Bay has announced that the theater will reopen. [Source: Gov. Cuomo's daily NYS Coronavirus update email 2/22/2021] Movie theaters in New York City, along with any other areas of the state where they have been closed, are permitted to reopen March 5 at 25 percent capacity, with no more than 50 people per screen at a time. Other safety protocols, including assigned seating and social distancing, will be in place. 
In a statement, AMC’s chief executive, Adam Aron, said the company would open all 13 of its New York City theaters on March 5. Nearest theater: AMC Kips Bay 15, 570 Second Avenue, New York, New York 10016
This theatre is planned to reopen on March 5 with AMC Safe & Clean policies, designed with you in mind. Auditoriums are at 40% capacity or less to allow for social distancing. Masks are required before, during and after the movie unless you are enjoying food and drinks.
AMC Kips Bay website 
Their "Safe and clean" page

3/1/2021 Open Culture is a new permit type available from the Street Activity Permit Office (SAPO) allowing for ticketed performances. Arts and cultural institutions, as well as entertainment venues, will have the opportunity to secure a permit for single day, socially distanced performances at over 100 street locations throughout all five boroughs. Applications will be considered on a first-come, first-serve basis. Applications open on March 1st at 12pm. The program will run through October 31st, 2021. The guidelines will be finalized and go into effect following the finalization of the Open Culture rules that are scheduled for a public hearing on February 26, 2021. Learn more about the Open Culture permit at Eligible arts and cultural institutions include: Members of the Cultural Institutions Group (CIG), Recipients of Cultural Development Fund (CDF) support, Recipients of borough arts council funding in 2019 or 2020, Other groups eligible for CDF grant funding but haven’t received before, Eligible cultural venues (performance venues) include entertainment facilities designed to be used for a performance in front of a live audience, such as concert venues, theaters, and other establishments. Source: 311 Learn more at Nearby Open Culture locations are:
East 26th Street between Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue
East 29th Street between Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue [Existing Open Street Location]
West 35th Street between 6th Avenue and 7th Avenue
East 47th Street between 1st Avenue and 2nd Avenue

2/26/2021 Nursing home visitations may resume in New York counties with a COVID positivity rate of 10% or less and in nursing homes that have been free of COVID cases for at least 14 days. 
Indoor dining in restaurants can increase to 35% capacity.

2/22/2021 Subway closing hours for daily cleaning will be from 2-4am. This is  reduces the time closed, which has been from 1-5am during the pandemic.

2/12/2021 Indoor dining resumes at 25% capacity.

12/15/2020 Governor Cuomo Announces Winter Plan to Combat COVID-19 Surge in New York State
Five Targeted Strategies to Manage and Mitigate the Spread of COVID-19:

  • Manage Hospital Capacity to Enhance and Equalize Care
  • Increase and Balance Testing Resources and Availability
  • Keep Schools Open Safely 
  • Prevent Viral Spread from Small Gatherings
  • Operationalize an Equitable and Safe Vaccination Program

Learn more at

NYC’s Localized Restrictions. The City is taking steps to slow the spread of COVID-19 in neighborhoods where cases continue to rise. Three zones have been defined by the State— red, orange, yellow. To find a zone and its restrictions, visit  Starting October 8, certain stay-at-home and closure restrictions will be in place in these neighborhoods. Restrictions will be lifted if rates of infection in these zones fall to low levels. To reopen public and private schools that are closed because of red and orange restrictions, all people who go in to a school, students, teachers and staff, will be tested and only those who are negative are allowed to go back into the school. 

Look up an address to see if it falls in a micro-cluster zone:

What You Need to Know About New York State Localized Zone Restrictions

Micro-cluster strategy to tackle COVID-19 hot spots. [Source: Gov. Cuomo’s Coronavirus Update email 10/20/2020.] New York will employ the micro-cluster strategy to take fast and targeted action when a micro-cluster hot spot is detected. The micro-cluster is predicated on three principles: Refined detection, specific and calibrated mitigation, and focused enforcement. Targeted closures and restrictions are used to bring down the rate of infection in a micro-cluster. To exit a red zone, the coronavirus positivity rate must stay under 3 percent for 10 days, Cuomo said. The rates for orange and yellow zones are 2 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively, for 10 days. The city's COVID zone finder
[NOTE: Murray Hill currently has a low rate of infection and is not a cluster hot spot.]

Localized restrictions

12/14/2020 gyms and fitness centers -- which are currently closed in orange zones -- may operate at a 25 percent capacity. Personal care services -- for example, salons and barbershops which are also currently closed in orange zones -- will be allowed to provide services so long as the employees performing services are tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis, and obtain a negative test result prior to opening.

12/11/2020 The Governor and NYS Dept. of Health have made it a priority to continuously calibrate the metrics governing restrictions to protect public health, without causing undue harm to the economy. The updated metrics unveiled today and over this past week continue to focus on limiting viral spread in communities with the highest rates of case growth and hospital admissions, and factor in a region's hospital capacity. 

NYC COVID (positive covid rate) lookup by zip code
Tap Percent Positive and Test Rate by ZIP Code (last 7 days) and tap Table, then enter the zip code

NYS COVID ZONE lookup tool (by address) to find out if an address is in a yellow, orange or red zone 

Red Zone — Cluster Itself
12/11/2020 A red zone will be implemented in a region where hospital capacity is within 21 days of reaching 90 percent, even after the cancellation of elective procedures and a 50 percent increase in bed capacity in hospitals in the region.
Houses of Worship: 25 percent capacity, 10 people maximum  (this restriction was struck down by Supreme Court for specific cluster zones)
Mass Gatherings: Prohibited
Businesses: Only essential businesses open
Dining: Takeout only
Schools: Closed, remote only

Orange Zone — Warning Zone
12/11/2020 A geographic area will be designated an Orange Zone if it has a 4 percent positivity rate (7-day average) over the last 10 days and it is located in a region that has reached 85 percent hospital capacity. Alternatively, a geographic area may also become an Orange Zone if the State Department of Health determines the area or region's rate of hospital admissions is unacceptably high and a zone designation is appropriate to control the rate of growth.
Houses of Worship: 33 percent capacity, 25 people maximum (this restriction was struck down by Supreme Court for specific cluster zones)
Mass Gatherings: 10 people maximum, indoor and outdoor
Businesses: Closing high-risk non-essential businesses, such as gyms and personal care
Dining: Outdoor dining only, 4 person maximum per table
Schools: Closed, remote only

Yellow Zone — Precautionary Zone
A geographic area will be designated a Yellow Zone if it has a 3 percent positivity rate (7-day average) over the past 10 days and is in the top 10 percent in the state for hospital admissions per capita over the past week and is experiencing week-over-week growth in daily admissions.
Houses of Worship: 50 percent capacity (this restriction was struck down by Supreme Court for specific cluster zones)
Mass Gatherings: 25 people maximum, indoor and outdoor
Businesses: Open
Dining: Indoor and outdoor dining, 4 person maximum per table
Schools: Open with mandatory weekly testing of students and teachers/staff for in-person settings. The New York State Department of Health will establish a percentage of teachers and students/staff who need to be tested by Friday.

Micro-cluster strategy to tackle additional COVID-19 hot spots. New York will employ the micro-cluster strategy to take fast and targeted action when a micro-cluster hot spot is detected. The micro-cluster is predicated on three principles: Refined detection, specific and calibrated mitigation, and focused enforcement. Targeted closures and restrictions are used to bring down the rate of infection in a micro-cluster. [Source: Gov. Cuomo’s Coronavirus Update email 10/20/2020.] To exit a red zone, the coronavirus positivity rate must stay under 3 percent for 10 days, Cuomo said. The rates for orange and yellow zones are 2 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively, for 10 days.

The city's COVID zone finder

10/6/2020 Fines for the sponsors of mass gatherings in violation of state public health rules will be increased to $15,000.

Overview of industries and nonprofits that can reopen in Phases 1-4

New York City is currently in Phase 4 of the reopening, but many activities are on PAUSE due to the high rate of COVID-19 infection.

NY State website page:

NYC website

Businesses must

  • Read their relevant industry guidance.
    NY State overview of industries that are authorized to reopen during Phases 1-4
    Phase 1 industry guidance
    Phase 2 industry guidance
    Phase 3 industry guidance  
    Gatherings up to 25 people are permitted.
    Phase 4 (final phase) industry guidance 
    Gatherings up to 50 people are permitted. 

  • Covid-19 Recovery Charge, starting Friday, October 16, applies to most restaurants and bars: COVID recovery charge can be added to their bills. Businesses are not required to implement the charge; it is optional. In other parts of the country surcharges of this type have helped businesses sustain operations and pay for added expenses like personal protective equipment and outdoor dining equipment. The restrictions on this charge as are as follows:
    • Maximum of 10% of the total bill
    • Subject to sales tax
    • Cannot be added to takeout or delivery orders
    • Must be clearly disclosed in English and any other languages used on menus on all menu pages, chalkboards, and websites
    • Total amount of the charge must be clearly added to all receipts
    • Must be referred to as “COVID-19 Recovery Charge” or “COVID Charge”
    • This is not a gratuity, and that must be explained clearly
    • May not be used as an added charge for a banquet, special event or package deal
    • May not be added by a food service establishment that is part of a chain with 15 or more locations nationally
  • Cuomo Attacks Supreme Court, but Virus Ruling Is Warning to Governors
    November 26, 2020,, by Jesse McKinley and Liam Stack
    [T]he U.S. Supreme Court...struck down an order by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo that had restricted the size of religious gatherings in certain areas of New York where infection rates were climbing. The governor had imposed 10- and 25-person capacity limits on churches and other houses of worship in those areas...“I have said from the beginning the restrictions imposed by Governor Cuomo were an overreach that did not take into account the size of our churches or the safety protocols that have kept parishioners safe,” Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn said...Legal experts say the court’s ruling could be used to challenge those and other rules elsewhere...The legal dispute between the state and religious leaders has been animated by tensions dating to March over what secular officials consider to be an important [essential] service at a time of crisis.

  • New York State in consultation with health experts is developing a winter plan to respond to the continued threat that COVID-19 poses to our state. The first step is to prioritize areas with the highest hospitalization rates to avoid adding strain to any hospital system. They are also looking at the best way to safely keep K-8 schools open, through testing and best practices. Finally, they are working toward operationalizing the vaccine plan for our state.
    [Source: Gov. Cuomo's NYS Coronavirus Update email 11/25/2020]

  • November 13, 2020 (effective date) New COVID-19 Restrictions [Due to concerns about the rising rate of coronavirus infections statewide] Bars, restaurants and gyms will be required to close from 10pm-5am daily, and private gatherings will be limited to 10 people. [Source: Gov. Cuomo's press release of November 11, 2020,]

  • NYC Restaurants, bars, and other establishments participating in the Open Restaurants Program are now authorized to utilize temporary outdoor heaters in their outdoor dining areas.

    The City released guidelines which include three options for the use of heating devices

  • 10/3/2020 New York State has issued updated guidance for taxis, for-hire vehicles and other transportation services. Drivers are encouraged to transport passengers with the windows down to increase ventilation, and to implement physical barriers between rider and driver, in addition to the mandatory mask wearing requirement for both drivers and passengers. Updated guidance

  • 9/30/2020 (effective date) Indoor pools may reopen with 33% capacity.

  • 9/30/2020 (effective date) Indoor dining for NYC restaurants may resume with 25% capacity. There will be strict health and safety precautions, including temperature checks at the door, placing tables 6 feet apart, and mandatory masks except when the party is seated at their table. For contact tracing purposes, one person in each party must leave their contact information. Restaurants must meet the state's air filtration requirements. In addition, there will be no bar service or bar reopening; however, drinks can be served at the table. All restaurants are required to close by midnight. Indoor dining guidance Press release Information about Restaurant Reopening is also available at or call the Small Business Services hotline at 888-SBS-4NYC. 
    People can anonymously report violations by calling 833-208-4160 or texting "VIOLATION" to 855-904-5036.

  • 8/24/2020 (effective date) Low-risk indoor cultural activities such as museums, aquariums and arts centers will be allowed to reopen. Those institutions will have to remain at or below 25% occupancy. They'll also have to implement protocols such as preset, staggered entry, enhanced cleaning and disinfecting. Face coverings will be mandatory and traffic flow must be controlled.

  • Karaoke Silenced, Strip Clubs Covered Up By New Coronavirus Rules
    August 21, 2020,, by Matt Troutman
    Live performances in bars and restaurants face added coronavirus restrictions under updated guidelines from the State Liquor Authority "If offering music, indoors or out, all relevant aspects of the respective Department of Health guidance dining must be followed, e.g., patrons should not be standing except for necessary reasons (e.g., restroom, entering/exiting), standing patrons should wear face coverings, etc.," the guidelines state. "Performers should be at least 12 feet from patrons." Music should be incidental to the dining experience and not the draw itself. 

  • 8/24/2020 (effective date for New York State, however NYC will have its own guidance.) Starting August 24th, gyms and fitness centers can reopen at 33 percent capacity while enforcing rigorous safety protocols, including requiring masks be worn at all times. Gym owners and all clients must take health guidelines seriously, or gym reopening can be rolled back. Local health departments are required to strictly enforce the state guidelines to ensure gyms and fitness centers reopen safely and protect the public health. Read New York State's full guidance on gym reopening

  • 8/17/2020 (effective date) Bowling Alleys can open with 50% capacity. Bowlers and staff will have to wear face coverings, and every other lane will be closed. Additionally, parties will have to stay with their party at their lane, and any food or alcohol served must be ordered and delivered to each lane...Cleaning and disinfecting protocols will also be in place, especially for shared and rented equipment.

  • 7/10/2020 (effective date, but not in NYC) Malls in Phase 4 regions can open, but only if they have high-efficiency venting systems capable of reducing the spread of COVID-19. HVAC systems will be required to include filters with a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value - or MERV - rating that filters out of the COVID-19 virus, but can, if the system makes additional protections, run on a minimum MERV of 11 (MERV 13 is preferred). Ventilation protocols include increased outdoor air, reduced air circulation, longer system run times and frequent filter checks. Staff and shoppers will be required to wear masks and maintain social distancing protocols.

Businesses and nonprofits must:

  • Complete an affirmation form to indicate compliance with guidelines (the form can be accessed by a link at the bottom of the industry guidelines).
  • Develop a safety plan to be posted where employees can see it at the place of business  (the form can be accessed by a link at the bottom of the industry guidelines).

Basic rules for all sectors

All businesses must adhere to specific hygiene, distancing, and health protocols as they reopen. 

Social Distancing - Require 6 feet of distance unless safety or core function of the work activity requires less, Reduce occupancy to under 50%, limit confined spaces to 1 person (elevators, behind cash registers, etc), Limit all in-person gatherings and meetings, and only hold them in large, well-ventilated areas with social distancing.

PPE - Provide employees with free face coverings or, if warranted, face shields or other proper protective equipment. Require face coverings if employees cannot keep 6 feet of distance due to safety or core work function.

Hygiene - Ensure frequent cleaning and disinfecting of any shared surfaces

Health Screenings - Implement mandatory health screenings for employees, including questionnaires, temperature checks.

Communication - Create distance markers, post signage throughout the workplace reminding personnel to adhere to phase 1 guidance and rules.

Travelers from these states to New York State must self-quarantine for 14 days: (Gov. Cuomo's Executive Order 205) 
Restricted states


NYC's Phase 4 businesses may open on July 20 (final phase).
Industry guidance
Schools (must have an approved plan). See page on Schools for details. Low-Risk Outdoor Arts & Entertainment (zoos, botanical gardens), Media Production, Professional Sports Competitions With No Fans, indoor dining (25% capacity), malls, gyms (no classes). IMPORTANT: The following NYC businesses and nonprofits remain CLOSED until further notice: venues with large gatherings.

New York City is now eligible to resume elective surgeries and ambulatory care.

State Liquor Authority Issues Updated Guidance On Food Requirements for On-Premises Licenses to Ensure Social Distancing Requirements are Met

NYS school reopening guidance for schools

10/28/2020 Open Storefronts (executive order by Mayor de Blasio) allows storefronts to do business at their location using sidewalk space. They must complete a simple application and make sure that the sidewalk is unimpeded (8' of space). If the storefront is on an Open Street, it can also use OpenStreet space. [pending final review by City Law] Read about siting requirements and more at NYC Open Storefronts Program application Updated 11/29/2020 The Open Storefronts program runs until December 31. 

10/3/2020 Outdoor dining is now permanent. New York City regulations must be followed regarding heaters and enclosed spaces.
September 25, 2020, Press release, Recovery Agenda: Mayor de Blasio Extends Outdoor Dining Season Year-Round
Open Restaurants program to be made permanent, restaurants permitted to use heating and enclosures, and expand seating to adjacent properties with neighbors’ consent. 

Additional Helpful Resources for Outdoor Dining:
Outdoor Dining Siting Criteria 
State Liquor Authority (SLA) Guidance on Outdoor Expansion
NYC Sidewalk Usage Guide (including signage regulations, etc.)
Jersey City Parklet Guide (with some tips and suggestions)
NYC Hospitality Alliance Interim Guidance for Outdoor Dining & Takeout
Phased Reopenings & Outdoor/Indoor Dining Info

Operational guidance for indoor and outdoor Restaurant Reopening or call the SBS hotline at 888-SBS-4NYC. 

9/30/2020 Indoor pools can reopen at 33% capacity.

9/30/2020 Indoor dining began on September 30, at 25% capacity, with social distancing, temperature checks, and masks must be worn except when seated. Restaurants must have enhanced ventilation systems. One person at the table must provide contact information in case it is needed for test and trace. Restaurants can expand to 50% capacity starting November 1, as long as the city's coronavirus infection rate stays below 2%. Interim guidance:

9/17/2020 NYC Restaurants Get Go-Ahead To Add Coronavirus Surcharge
September 17, 2020,, by Matt Troutman
10 percent hike. [awaiting Mayor's signature] 

10/6/2020 Guidance for group music activities, including live performances and music recording, in New York City during the COVID-19 public health emergency is now available on the MOME website. The music guidance synthesizes COVID-19-related safety requirements from numerous sources, including the New York State Department of Health, the Empire State Development Corporation, the State Liquor Authority, and other State and City laws. The guidance is presented in a plain-language format and includes links to information from other State and City government agencies.

9/15/2020 The NYC Dept. of Parks will begin the permit request period for youth baseball, softball, non-contact lacrosse, cricket, soccer and flag football leagues wishing to use park spaces. It’s unclear how fast the permits will be granted. Apply for permits at

9/21/2020 (NYS) School-sponsored sports can begin. Travel for practice or away games will be prohibited outside of the school's region or neighboring regions or counties until October 19. Lower- and moderate-risk sports include tennis, soccer, cross country, field hockey and swimming.

9/14/2020 September 14 (effective date). Riders who refuse to wear a mask on public transit will be subject to a $50 fine. This new measure follows Governor Cuomo's Executive Order 202.18 issued on April 17 requiring all customers and employees to wear a face covering while riding on public transit.

9/1/2020 Movie/TV productions may submit permit applications for filming on exterior locations on public property with up to 100 cast and crew, held parking and assistance from the NYPD Movie/TV unit. Certain restrictions still apply with respect to over-dimensional vehicles and around open streets, open restaurants and open classrooms. Updated production guidance is available on the Film Permit website Consult the guidelines and FAQ before submitting permit applications. The Film Office is operating remotely; allow additional time for Film Permit processing.

7/30/2020 DMV-licensed driving schools can now conduct distance learning Pre-Licensing Courses. Due to the COVID-19 public health crisis, driving schools across the state have been unable to offer the Pre-Licensing Course - also known as the five-hour course - to students. In order to safely meet the demand for driver training while adhering to social distancing guidelines, the State Department of Motor Vehicles has issued guidance to driving schools allowing them to conduct Pre-Licensing Courses using established and secure technology, such as Zoom, WebEx, Go To Meeting and Skype.

7/24/2020 Message from Gov. Cuomo for young people: This is not the time to fight for your right to party. We are seeing a statistically significant increase in the COVID infection rate in 21- to 30-year-olds. Remember: Young people can get seriously sick and some will die from the virus. Young people can bring it home and give it to others inadvertently. To deliver the message, we launched a social and PSA campaign to communicate the hard facts to young people. If you treat COVID lightly, you may not live to regret it. Watch the video

NYC's Phase 3 businesses may open on July 6.
Industry guidance
Personal care including nail salons and dog runs. Indoor dining in restaurants is not included in NYC with Phase 3 as of 7/5/2020.
[Source: State Senator Liz Krueger's email Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates 6/26/20] The Mayor announced plans to reopen recreational amenities and outdoor courts in City parks. Once the City enters Phase 3 of reopening, New Yorkers will be able to enjoy soccer fields and basketball, tennis, volleyball, bocce, and handball courts. The City will also reopen dog runs for public use. Participants in higher risk sports including basketball should only partake in individual or distanced group training. To support social distancing, Parks Ambassadors will continue staffing parks and playgrounds, handing out masks and educating patrons about maintaining safe distancing. NYC Parks continues to re-open skate parks and outdoor fitness equipment. Certain film and television production activity will be permitted, including principal photography with a maximum of 25 cast and crew.  Film permit website All production activity, whether it requires a Film Permit or not, must comply with New York Forward Industry Guidance. Media production activities involve a variety of operations (such as scouting, set construction, and hair and makeup), and owners/managers of media production businesses should comply with relevant industry-specific State Department of Health guidance where applicable. See the State Department of Health’s Interim Guidance for Media Production During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency for more information.

8/7/2020 Gov. Cuomo announced that New York State schools can reopen on September 10.
The school-reopening decision is based on the coronavirus statistics for the state. Individual plans by district for reopening must be approved by the state, and individual districts can decide whether to reopen in-school learning. NYC's plan is currently incomplete. They have a week to complete the plan and must hold meetings with parents and teachers. The city has requested an extension.  The NYC Department of Education (DOE) website is updated daily at City’s Dept. of Education has set up a Return to School 2020 page with the latest updates on reopening public schools and specifics on hybrid learning and the first day of school. Chancellor Carranza also released a letter for NYC school families.

7/15/2020 The state’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman program may resume on-site visitation effective July 15, 2020. This program provides additional support to residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities. Ombudsman staff must utilize appropriate PPE for the duration of the visit, and must be screened as if they were a staff person of such nursing home, including having to present a verified negative test result to the nursing home within the past week.

7/12/2020 Concessions may open starting July 12.

7/1/2020 Beaches are open (with social distancing and face coverings).


NYC's Phase 2 businesses may reopen on June 22.
Industry guidance
Phase 2 will include commercial building management, hair salons and barbershops, outdoor and takeout/delivery food services, offices, real estate, essential and Phase 2 in-store retail, vehicle sales, leasing and rentals, retail rental, repair and cleaning and motion picture and video production with certain restrictions. It also includes the launch of the City’s Open Restaurants program, which allows eligible venues to serve patrons on sidewalks, curb lanes, plazas, and open streets while following social distancing, hygiene, and other health guidance. of these businesses must operate at half capacity and with mandatory COVID safeguards in place, including social distancing and facial coverings. 8/7/2020 Open Restaurants is extended year-round. Phase 2 reopening is expected to bring as many as 300,000 additional people to NYC. 

Open Restaurants Program Restaurants must self-certify on this page Information about Restaurant Reopening is available at or by calling the Department of Small Business Services hotline at 888-SBS-4NYC. The program has been extended year-round.

Phase 2 Outdoor dining at restaurants. Social distancing between tables must be practiced. All staff must wear face coverings and customers must also wear face coverings when not seated.  The NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) has compiled a list of event production companies that rent or sell the equipment needed to safely transition to outdoor dining while complying with safety and accessibility regulations. 

A new and streamlined application process to allow restaurants to expand capacity outdoors

Phase 2 curb lane seating will last through Labor Day. Sidewalk seating will be in effect until the end of October (under Phase 2 guidelines). Restaurants can work with their local BID and DOT to request additional seating in plazas by emailing

New York State COVID-19 Liquor Authority Guidance on Outdoor Expansion of Licensed Premises. All licensees in regions that have entered phase 2 of reopening and which have on-premises service privileges under the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law (ABC Law) may, subject to the guidance below, resume outdoor, on-premises service of alcoholic beverages and/or food. This guidance shall continue until July 3, 2020 but may be extended or reduced depending upon the circumstances:

Phase 2 Motion picture and video production. Certain aspects of pre- and post-production are authorized to resume certain operations with restrictions, as well as principal photography with a maximum of 10 people. The NYC Film Office will begin accepting permit applications for production activity commencing on July 1 or later. Activity will be limited to no more than 10 cast and crew. There will be safety-related limitations on vehicles, equipment, location, and catering, along with the safety requirements in the mandated State guidance. Production guidelines will be posted on the Mayor's Office of Media & Entertainment (MOME)’s website. Production guidelines and an FAQ are posted on the Film Permit website Applicants should review the guidelines and FAQ before submitting permit applications. Please note that the Film Office is operating remotely, so please allow additional time for Film Permit processing.

In Phase 2, places of worship may reopen with 25% occupancy [or 50% occupancy, according to the court]. State guidelines must be followed.

Public schools and playgrounds. NYC is opening playgrounds for younger children on June 22. Team sports are not permitted. 

NYC's Phase 1 businesses may reopen on June 8.
Industry guidance
Construction, manufacturing, retail businesses can offer delivery, curbside, and in-store pickup service, wholesale, agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting. Phase 1 reopening is expected to bring 200,000-400,000 additional people to NYC.

Gatherings of no more than 10 people are allowed for Phase 1.

Low-risk recreational activities are approved to reopen statewide: tennis, golf and driving ranges (not miniature/mini golf) with food and retail services subject to the restrictions that are currently in effect within the region, and non-motorized boat use and rentals, such as row boats, kayaks, and canoes.

Health + Hospitals (H+H) Visitor policy. H+H is now allowing one visitor at a time per patient for four hours a day. Visitors are permitted to see patients in all departments of the hospital. Those visiting the hospital will be required to wear appropriate PPE, perform meticulous hand hygiene, and undergo symptom and temperature checks upon entering the hospital. Hospitals and group homes will be allowed to accept visitors at their discretion. Any facility that chooses to allow visitors must follow state guidelines, including time-limited visits and requiring visitors to wear PPE and be subject to symptom and temperature checks. Details here

In-person special education instruction can be held this summer. 

New York City health care providers are now eligible to resume elective surgeries and ambulatory care.

Dentists can reopen on June 1. Interim Guidance For Dentistry During The COVID-19 Public Health

Medical schools statewide will be allowed to reopen on June 22nd.

6/6/2020 Port Authority’s airports, bridges, tunnels, and terminals, PATH system, seaports, and World Trade Center transportation hub remain open and operational, the agency reminds the traveling public that face coverings are required in its facilities. The requirement for face coverings is a key part of agency’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and has been instituted as a result of the New York and New Jersey emergency orders.

The New York State stay-at-home directive has been extended to June 27 for businesses that are not eligible to reopen  


Small Business Services Restart Hotline: 888-SBS-4NYC (888-727-4692)

Coronavirus Hotline for employees to report employers who are not following guidelines 888-364-3065.

A 311 Worker Protection Hotline will launch Monday, June 8. Workers who call 311 or 1-212-436-0381 will be connected to the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection for immediate assistance. Worker rights and guidance is also available online here.

NYC Resources, guidance and information

Information and guidelines for businesses reopening in Phase 2 are available at

A central Restaurant Reopening resource page

NYC Business has created a restaurant reopening guide with important information regarding reopening. 

Typologies of COVID-19 improvisational street architecture

6/18/2020 NYC's Phase 2

6/12/2020 NYC Business Reopening Information and Resources (plain language industry guides)

General Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection for Non-Health Care Settings:

Reopening New York City Information and Resources:

NYC's Department of Small Business Services (SBS) has launched a reopening supplies marketplace for easy access to wholesalers selling PPE, gloves, sneeze guards and other equipment. 

NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) Digital Resource Fairs and online webinars 

NYC Free Face Covering Distribution for Small Businesses & Their Employees: For a list of distribution sites available, visit

7/20/2020 Visits to nursing homes and long-term care facilities will be allowed on a limited basis, starting July 20. Visits will be allowed at facilities that have been free of new COVID cases for at least 28 days. Only two people are allowed to visit each resident and must undergo a temperature check, wear a mask and social distance while visiting. 
Full NYS guidance  
Guidance for adult care facilities
Guidance for pediatric skilled nursing facilities

Grand Central Partnership's Reopening Resources for Businesses

6/12/2020 Phase 1 SBS resources to help small businesses navigate the recovery and re-opening process (NYC Department of Small Business Services

6/12/2020 NYC Guidelines for Small Businesses: NYC SBS Webpage and Reopening Guide 

NYC Department of Health COVID-19 NYC RESTART Guidance for Businesses (retail, construction, manufacturing, wholesale). This website  also has other useful guidance for businesses and facilities: 

NYC DOHMH COVID-19 Guidance for Phase 1 Business Reopening (retail, construction, manufacturing, wholesale). This website also has other useful guidance for businesses and facilities:

NYC Workplace laws are still in effect.  Learn more about employee rights and employer responsibilities here:

Industry employer guides are also available at

6/19/2020 The NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) is offering New York business owners a new set of resources to help them navigate the recovery and re-opening process.

6/8/2020 The New York City Department of Buildings, in partnership with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), released COVID-19 safety guidelines for property owners and contractors

NYC Summary of requirements for business reopening for construction site Many construction trade filings can now be done online. Online training and license renewal options for construction professionals.

NYC Department of Buildings will periodically check construction sites for compliance with employer safety plans required by the NYS Interim Guidance. Inspectors will look for: compliance with social distancing protocols (six feet of distance) unless safety or work functions require shorter distance, face coverings, hygiene and hand washing stations, COVID-19 safety measures signage, tightly confined spaces (e.g., elevators, hoists) occupied by only one individual at a time, unless all occupants are wearing a face covering and the space is kept under 50% maximum capacity, a site safety monitor must be designated responsible for continuous compliance with all aspects of the site safety plan, safety plan(s) are conspicuously posted on site and include a copy of the submitted State affirmation, properly completed and updated cleaning and disinfection logs, a communication plan for employees, visitors, and clients is on site, correctly completed and updated logs of every person who may have had close contact with others on site to ensure effective contact tracing.  

State inspectors to monitor NYC eateries for coronavirus compliance
June 30, 2020,, by Carl Campanile and Bernadette Hogan
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is sending state police and health investigators throughout the city Tuesday to make sure bars and restaurants are complying [with mask-wearing and social distancing].

Financial Counseling for Businesses:

The City’s Dept. of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP): Reopening NYC: What Workers Need to Know (PDF), a guide for worker resources for Phase One reopening, with updates at Or call 311.

Comprehensive Resource Guide:

NYC Guidelines and Tools: All the latest guidance from face masks to how to properly document your eligibility for NYS Emergency Paid Sick Leave can be found here:

Recovery For All: A Vision for New York City’s Equitable Economic Recovery
July 2020, NY Workforce Recovery Strategy Group

The NYC Office of Nightlife has made the following guides and informational materials available for download at to Expect When You’re InspectedMulti-agency Reopening Toolkit for Restaurants and BarsIt’s Up to You, New York social distancing guides and graphics, Take Out, Don’t Hang Out posters.

All In NYC Initiative Aims To Help Revitalize Tourism Industry
July 9, 2020,, by Gillian Smith
A series of initiatives are underway to help revitalize New York City's tourism industry following shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic, NYC & Company announced this week...The goal of the initiatives is to help the more than 403,000 tourism and hospitality employees across the city return to work. The All In NYC: Roadmap for Tourism's Reimagining and Recovery ...The three stages will included tourism-friendly programs that will target city residents first and then regional, domestic and international travelers, as restrictions allow...The Stay Well NYC Pledge will help create Standard Operating Procedures for cleaning standards across the hospitality, tourism, arts, culture and entertainment sectors. NYC & Company does the official marketing for NYC to maximize tourism

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer's resource of advistory boards and their members, Who’s Helping New York Reopen?

NY State resources, guidelines and information

NY State overview of industries that are authorized to reopen during Phases 1-4
Phase 1 industry guidance
Phase 2 industry guidance
Phase 3 industry guidance

NYS Reopening Lookup Tool for businesses to see if they are eligible to reopen

Business reopening guidance from

New York State Department of Health Along with the CDC's guidelines, businesses must adhere to the "hygiene and sanitation requirements from the New York State Department of Health and maintain cleaning logs on site that document date, time, and scope of cleaning."

NYS Department of Environmental Conservation cleaning & disinfecting products identified by the Environmental Protection Agency as effective against COVID-19

New York State Department of Health NY Forward Safety Plan (essential document) Template (This is also available with each phase's guidance documents.) Each reopening business must develop a written Safety Plan outlining how its workplace will prevent the spread of COVID-19. A business may fill out this template to fulfill the requirement, or may develop its own Safety Plan. This plan does not need to be submitted to a state agency for approval but must be retained on the premises of the business and must made available to the New York State Department of Health (DOH) or local health or safety authorities in the event of an inspection.

NYS Department of Health "Stop the Spread" poster

NYS Department of Health Interim Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection of Public and Private Facilities for COVID-19

NYS Forward


Federal resources, guidelines and information 

CDC Guidance for Evaluating and Testing Persons for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

CDC Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility

CDC Guidance for Symptoms of Coronavirus

CDC infographic on keeping places safe:

CDC Reopening guidance for cleaning and disinfecting public spaces, workplaces, businesses, schools, and homes

CDC Activities and Initiatives Supporting the COVID-19 Response and the President’s Plan for Opening America Up Again 
May 2020, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

DRAFT Centers for Disease Control (CDC) document advising on how to safely reopen businesses and institutions (full document, not published by the White House) (68 pages) [Source: Associated Press].

CDC Businesses & Workplaces guide Businesses must adhere to the "hygiene and sanitation requirements from the CDC and maintain cleaning logs on site that document date, time, and scope of cleaning." Moreover, regarding screening employees, whomever is screening must be familiar with Covid-19 symptoms noted by the CDC

CDC's Guidance for Where You Live, Work, Learn, Pray, and Play

CDC's Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers Responding to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), May 2020

OSHA Guidelines for Personal Protective Equipment

OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19

OSHA COVID-19 Guidance for Restaurants & Beverage Vendors Offering Takeout or Curbside Pickup

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19  

Small Business Administration (SBA) Lender Match is a free online tool that connects small businesses with SBA-approved Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and other small lenders. Do not use if looking for Disaster loans.

Small Business Administration (SCORE) Resources for Reopening Your Small Business
For free personalized, expert advice, reach out to a SCORE mentor

Retail Stores, checklist for reopening your store while keeping employees and customers safe
Retail store Action Plan

Restaurants Checklist Action plan

8/22/2020 FDA banned hand sanitizers

Resources and information (other)

The Community Service Society has moved the information from their comprehensive COVID-19 Resource Guides, formerly found under their website’s Benefit Tools, to the Benefits Plus online manual under the “COVID-19 Resources” category.

Residential buildings. REBNY, 32BJ SEIU & the RAB Issue Joint Safety Guidelines for Residential Buildings Industry & Labor Leaders Collaborate on Comprehensive Public Health Practices as NYC Reopens
June 11, 2020,, by Cooperator Staff


NYC's Department of Health COVID-19 monitoring website page

NY State COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System Dashboard

COVID Testing Percentage Positive Dashboard

The NYS COVID monitoring dashboard is tracking the metrics and is being used for decision-making statewide

NYS Full criteria for re-opening at

NYS Metrics to Guide Reopening New

NYS COVID tracker map

The City's COVID tracker

COVID-19 data tracker for New York State

NYC coronavirus tracking

NYC Department of Health page

New York City threshholds

NYC goals for hospital admissions for covid-related illness (below 200 per day), people in critical care (below 375), positive test rates for coronavirus (below 15%) (the ideal levels may change depending on the availability of testing supplies). See this webpage where NYC is tracking the goals daily

NYC coronavirus page

Test, trace & take care (T3)

For more information on Coronavirus testing see the Testing page.

Background: New York State will take a regional and a phased approach to reopening

Regions will rely on seven core metrics to inform when a region is ready to reopen. Industries are divided into 4 categories based on essentialness and risk. These categories determine the phase for re-opening.

The NYS COVID monitoring dashboard is tracking the metrics region will be able to reopen if it meets four criteria: it must show 14 days of decline in hospitalizations and hospital deaths and fewer than 2 new cases per 100,000 people per day. Hospitals must have 30% capacity available, both in the regular hospital and ICU, and must have a 90-day stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE). A region must be able to conduct 30 tests per 1,000 residents per month; and the region must have 30 contact tracers per 100,000 residents.

Background: The reopening divides businesses into four phases based on essentialness and risk of spreading the virus.

Industries for phased re-opening

Phase 1: manufacturing, residential construction and landscaping, retail stores including clothing, appliances, electronics, sporting goods and furniture stores are open for in-store and curbside pickup, drycleaners, greenhouses and nurseries, drive-in movie theaters (statewide), outdoor, low-risk recreational activities such as tennis (not doubles) (statewide), wholesale trade, agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, race tracks across the state, but with no spectators, small gatherings (up to 10 people, social distancing must be practiced). NOTE: There is still significant risk to indoor gatherings. Those are settings where the virus can spread. Masks, hand washing and social distancing should still be practiced.

Phase 2: offices, professional services (including finance and insurance), commercial building management, in-store retail, administrative support, real estate / rental, leasing & cleaning, vehicle sales, leasing and  rentals, hair salons and barbershops, outdoor food services, houses of worship at 25% of capacity.

Phase 3: restaurants / food services and hotels

Phase 4: arts / entertainment / recreation, education. 

Upon reopening, businesses must implement new safety precautions to help lower the risk of spreading the virus. These include strict cleaning and sanitation standards, restricting nonessential travel, adapting the workplace to allow for social distancing, and requiring masks to be worn if employees are in frequent contact with the public. Read all the requirements. Businesses opening in Phase 1 do not have to submit a reopening plan to the state; however, they must create and implement an employee safety plan. This employee safety plan must be written down on a template from the State Department of Health, and kept on site in the event that the Department of Health inspects the site.



Federal reopening guidelines 

5/22/2020 President Trump announced that religious gatherings should be considered "essential" and that he wants them to be open. [NOTE: A lawsuit was raised and won by the NY Civil Liberties Union that religious gatherings can't be singled out. The guideline must be applied to all gatherings.]

4/16/2020 President Trump presented guidelines for 'Opening Up America Again'
April 16, 2020,, by The Hill Staff 
[G]uidelines released by the White reopen the economy recommend that states see a downward trajectory in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases as well as flu-like symptoms before they move to lift stay-at-home orders and other restrictions. The document explicitly states that the outlined steps are implementable statewide at the discretion of individual governors.  Read full guidelines

White House/CDC Guidance: Opening America

MTA Reopening Plan

6/5/2020 MTA Action Plan For a Safe Return
MTA 13-Point Action Plan for a Safe Return...Increased Service, Unprecedented Cleaning & Disinfecting, Mandatory Face Coverings, Enhanced Safety & Security [including Platform controllers, wayfinders and station personnel to direct and assist with crowd control], Nation-Leading Employee Safety Initiatives, Innovative Cleaning Solutions, Hand Sanitizer, Floor Markings, Directional Arrows and New Signage, Staggered Business Hours, 2 Million Mask Contribution from State & City, Contactless Payments, New Partnerships & Technology to Make our System Safer, Data Dashboard...Buses will go to 75% service in Manhattan with rear-door boarding...Adjusting when New Yorkers are traveling...If you can, travel outside of peak hours, between 9am-3pm.

The Governor has asked that commuters unsatisfied with bus or subway service during reopening call 511 with complaints.

Milestones and info

6/26/2020 (effctive date) Outdoor, socially distanced graduations of up to 150 people will be allowed, subject to any outbreaks or significant changes in the metrics.

6/6/2020 Summer day camps can open June 29. The state has not decided whether overnight summer camps will be permitted.

6/1/2020 Gatherings of no more than 10 people are allowed statewide. Social distancing measures must be enforced and all participants must wear masks.

NYS Executive Order No. 202.34: Governor Cuomo signed an Executive Order stating that private businesses have the right to refuse service to individuals who are not wearing a mask. For more information, click here.

5/28/202 Gov. Cuomo exec order extends the Stay-at-Home (PAUSE) until June 27 for New York State regions that do not meet the specific COVID-19 criteria for re-opening as shown on the regional monitoring dashboard. 

5/22/2020 New York's state beaches reopen on May 22, at the same time as beaches will be opened in New Jersey, Connecticut and Deleware. Beaches will be limited to 50 percent occupancy, social distancing must be observed and concessions will remain closed. Some beaches require proof of residency. This does not include NYC beaches.

5/11/2020 New York State will reopen certain low-risk business and recreational activities in regions that meet the re-opening criteria on May 15th. This includes landscaping and gardening, low-risk outdoor recreational activities (like tennis) and drive-in movie theaters. Businesses that want to reopen will be required to create social distancing plans to protect customers.

4/17/2020 Gov. Cuomo's presented a plan on how to gradually open up New York State's economy (done in conjunction with neighboring states). Summary courtesy of State Sen. Liz Krueger: (1) Do No Harm - step one is to continue controlling the rate of infection, (2) strengthen the healthcare system, (3) 
testing and contact tracing, (4) phased return to "new normal." 

Opinion pieces about reopening

What the NBA Bubble Can Teach Us
The Los Angeles Lakers took home the NBA championship this week. But the close of the season also marked a big victory for the league itself. The NBA played its finals in a unique environment that came to be known as the bubble. Players were frequently tested and social distancing was heavily enforced. And, the experiment worked. The NBA did not report a single positive coronavirus case from players or staff. Reporters Emma Court and Brandon Kochkodin describe how the league did it, and whether other organizations can replicate its success.

‘Health or Their Home’: The Risks of Housing Court During a Pandemic
June 12, 2020,, by Caroline Spivack
Judges and court employees began returning to courthouses in New York City this week under guidance from the Office of Court Administration (OCA), which requires screenings for COVID-19 symptoms. 

What Can Dancers Do If They Don’t Feel Safe Returning to the Studio?
June 11, 2020,, by Garnet Henderson

Volunteering, Jobs, Donations

See the Volunteer, jobs and donation opportunities page for ways you can help.


MTA Reopening Plan


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