The start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 brought normal life to a standstill. Amidst social distancing norms and travel restrictions, enjoying traveling to New York City felt like a distant dream. While the pandemic is raging through the world in 2021, things look slightly brighter for eager travelers.
Large-scale vaccination drives have led to the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in many parts of the U.S., including the state of New York where Governor Andrew Cuomo lifted various NYC travel restrictions starting June 15th.
That means you’ve got the right opportunity to satiate your inner travel bug by traveling to New York City. Better still, you’re going to have most of the tourist attractions – from the charming Empire State Building to the upscale Chelsea Market – all to yourself.
Nevertheless, when you want to travel in the middle of a pandemic, it’s always a good idea to plan things in advance. That’s why in this blog, we’ve curated a ton of useful information that’ll come in handy while planning your trip to NYC. Let’s take a look.
Consider the Current COVID-19 Situation Before Traveling to New York
In 2020, New Your City turned into an epicenter of the pandemic in the U.S. Devastating images of people gasping for breath started floating around on the internet. The good news is that the administration quickly took charge of the situation and implemented various measures to control the pandemic.
While the city has recorded a total of more than 960,000 probable or confirmed cases and nearly 34,000 probable or confirmed deaths due to COVID-19, the positivity rate has dipped to 0.95% at present. Also, nearly 70% of the state’s adult population has received the first dose of their COVID-19 vaccination.
That makes NYC a safe place to visit for a relaxing holiday.
What About the NY Travel Ban?
The federal government has restricted the entry of travelers from several countries, including the United Kingdom, India, Iran, South Africa, Brazil, China, and the European Schengen Area.
But if you’re traveling from any other countries or anywhere else in the U.S., traveling to New York City for a fun filled trip is open to you! While a negative RT-PCR test report is no longer mandatory for all travelers, it’s still recommended.
If you aren’t fully vaccinated or haven’t recovered from COVID-19 in the last three months, the officials still recommend that you quarantine for a few days after your arrival in NYC. Also, it’s recommended that you get tested for COVID-19 three to five days after arrival.
As for COVID-19 restrictions within NYC, you can expect a bunch of relaxation. Fully vaccinated travelers can evade masking and social distancing requirements using their proof of vaccination.
Most businesses, including restaurants and other public places, are free to implement safety measures, although it’s no longer mandatory. Unvaccinated travelers above the age of four are still required to wear masks and maintain social distance in public places.
Also, out-of-state travelers – except those coming from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont – need to fill out a health declaration form.
How to Start Planning Your Trip to NYC?
Let’s get to the most exciting part, i.e. planning your NYC itinerary and enjoying a joyous vacation.
The ground-rule of traveling during the pandemic is to have a plan ready in advance. Of course, nothing beats the thrill of going on an impromptu vacation, exploring new cuisines, and experiencing new adventures. But now isn’t the time for that.
If traveling to New York City during the pandemic is on your bucket list, make sure you have a clear idea of where you’re going to stay, what places you’ll visit, and where you’ll eat. Choose a well-established and reputed accommodation facility, such as Selina Chelsea Hotel, New York.
Strategically situated in the heart of Manhattan’s cultural hub, Selina offers a sprightly ambiance for young travelers. Also, the property has put in place various measures to ensure the safety of guests.
Make sure you get in touch with their staff for the latest information on the COVID-19 situation and travel restrictions.
Similarly, you can ask them about the safest places to visit in the current situation. Many tourist attractions, including the Empire State Building, Museum of Modern Art, Hudson Yards, and the High Line, are open to the public right now.
You can enjoy a plethora of outdoor activities, such as watching a live performance at Radial Park’s drive-in theater or a museum block party at Brooklyn museum. You can explore the dainty lanes of Chinatown and indulge in a gastronomic extravaganza, or spend your time at a vibrant music festival.
Of course, your trip to New York City would be incomplete without exploring the city’s delectable cuisine, which is a true representation of its cosmopolitan culture. While restaurants are open for visitors, it’s a good idea to make your reservations in advance.
Ask the host about what kind of safety measures they’ve implemented for guests and explore outdoor dining options whenever possible.
Be a Responsible Traveler
While NYC seems to have beat the novel coronavirus for now, COVID-19 cases are still rising in many parts of the world. The emergence of the delta and delta plus variants also indicates that the pandemic is far from over.
So, irrespective of your vaccination status, make sure you continue to follow masking and social distancing protocols while visiting any public places in NYC. Choose a mode of travel that’ll minimize your exposure to the virus, and stay abreast of the latest restrictions.