I frequently get asked if it’s okay to visit New York City during the pandemic. The answer: it depends.
Early in the pandemic, the answer was a hard “no”. But as the numbers have come down and the city and its residents have been diligent to consistently implement health and safety measures, the answer isn’t quite as hard and fast.
The government’s coronavirus website has a complete travel advisory including guidance and restrictions for visiting the city. It includes a list of states from which inbound travelers must quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival. Travelers from the remaining states are free to enter into city life immediately as long as they follow all of the mandated guidelines.
As you might imagine, many popular visitor attractions are either closed or operating with limited hours and reduced capacity. While this isn’t ideal for NYC’s economy, it does provide a unique opportunity for visitors to experience the city without the frenetic energy that comes with being the most visited destination in the USA. Here is an updated list from the city’s tourism board of what’s open and how to get tickets if needed.
Honestly, a trip to NYC without going inside a single landmark or museum would still be an incredible trip. I’ve taken many trips to New York City that fit this bill. In fact, I just helped to create a custom itinerary for some clients for a three-day visit in which two of their three days were almost entirely outdoor. One day included a walking tour of multiple parks from Washington Square Park all the way north to Central Park and another day scheduled in lower Manhattan that included a visit to the 911 Memorial, a ride past Lady Liberty on the Staten Island Ferry, and a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge after passing through the Financial District.
Given this, if an opportunity arises to visit New York City and you feel comfortable and are able to commit to following all of the travel guidelines, I totally support you! It would be a very unique and special trip. On the other hand, if you’d rather wait until Covid-19 is firmly in the rearview mirror, I get that too. Either way, stay safe and be well!
An update from Beyond the Square: I’ve intentionally been quiet here on my website over the past months because I haven’t wanted to promote unwanted or unwise travel to the city. I have the utmost respect for New York City and its residents and wouldn’t want to do anything to put them in jeopardy. I will continue to be judicious in my approach but since it is okay to visit NYC at this time, I will offer some tips and ideas in weeks to come. It’s good to be back!