Travel to New York City During Covid-19: What You Need To Know Before You Travel


CNN staff

If you are planning to travel to New York City, here is what you need to know and expect if you plan to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The basics

Almost all pandemic travel restrictions were lifted in New York state (including New York City) in June as 70% of New Yorkers over 18 received the first dose of their Covid-19 vaccination series.

In response to the increase in the Delta variant, however, a new mandatory vaccination “Key to NYC” came into effect on August 17th. It requires proof of vaccination for guests and employees of the city’s indoor restaurants, fitness, and entertainment venues.

Some of the places of interest to travelers that are part of the requirement are restaurants, night clubs, concert halls, museums, performing arts theaters, cinemas, bowling alleys, arcades, casinos, cabarets, fitness centers, pools and cafes with indoor dining.

The mayor has endorsed the CDC guidelines recommending masking indoors regardless of vaccination status, but has not issued a mask mandate.

What’s on offer

This is the ultimate city break. New York has the greatest skyline in the world; Culture from the Guggenheim to MoMA; spectacular dining from Chinese delicacies in Flushing to Italian delicacies in the Bronx; and the green sweep of Central Park to the bustling Lower East Side.

Who can go

The state of New York (and thus the city) is still subject to the rules of the US government, meaning travel from Brazil, China, the European Schengen area, India, Iran, Ireland, South Africa and the United Kingdom are currently not allowed.

Exceptions to the current travel bans are possible for US citizens, family members, or permanent residents. Travel from all other countries is allowed.

However, the announcement of a new vaccination requirement for international travelers means that fully vaccinated visitors from the above countries and the rest of the world will be allowed to enter the US in early November.

What are the limitations?

Asymptomatic travelers entering New York from another country, state, or territory are not required to test or quarantine.

New York officials continue to recommend quarantine for all travelers who are not fully vaccinated or who have not recovered from Covid-19 in the past three months. It is also recommended for these travelers to test three to five days after arriving in New York.

Every air traveler entering the United States must have a negative Covid-19 test result. Passengers must undergo a virus test within three days of their flight to the United States and document their laboratory results or recovery from Covid-19.

How is the Covid situation?

As of October 14, a total of around 34,400 confirmed and probable deaths and just over 1.1 million confirmed or probable cases have been recorded. For the past 28 days, there was a test positive rate of about 2.66%, a rate that has been going down over the past month.

What can visitors expect?

Restaurants, cinemas, and other venues are open – but their interiors are only accessible to fully vaccinated guests. Guests under the age of 12 who cannot yet be vaccinated may be admitted with a face mask unless they are eating and drinking.

The city strongly recommends masking indoors, but has chosen not to make this a mandate. The “Key to NYC” vaccination mandate has been in effect since September 13th.

Broadway has reopened, but you must be vaccinated to participate and masks are required except when eating and drinking. A list of shows can be found on

The observatory on the 86th floor of the Empire State Building is open. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, like all NYC museums, requires visitors 12 years and older to be vaccinated, and children 2-11 must wear a mask. Masks are required in the interiors of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

The metro system continues to operate around the clock.

New York State has introduced the Excelsior Pass, which can be used to prove their status to anyone who has received a negative test or vaccination in New York State. The digital passport is not a requirement for venues or events that require testing or vaccinations, so a traveler from another state can use their own vaccination card or laboratory test result.

usefull links

New York State Covid-19 microsite

CDC Travel Health

Our current reporting

There are two new attractions in NYC’s list. Read about Little Island on the Hudson River and a spectacular elevator in the One Vanderbilt Tower.

Check out our New York Guide to Safe Eating During the Pandemic, or read more about Bar Dante, named second best in the world this year.

Consider a post-pandemic stay at the first hotel on Roosevelt Island, a sliver of an island in the East River with a notorious past.

Would you like to eat good Indian food? You can find it across the water in New Jersey. Or enjoy New York Cheesecake in our list of the world’s best desserts.

The CNN Wire
™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia company. All rights reserved.

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

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