Local COVID-19 Openings and Guidelines for Businesses in New York City

There is a lot of confusion and questioning surrounding COVID-19 guidelines in New York. We’re collecting the current state of rules surrounding services and business to keep you informed.

Q: What is New York’s reopening plan?

NYC’s RESTART plan breaks the rules down by zone. The city is currently in phase four of its reopening. It uses a color designation to determine restrictions—Red for the most restrictions, orange for caution, and yellow for the least restrictions.

Q: Is it mandatory to wear a mask in New York during the COVID-19 pandemic?

New York State and New York City have a mandatory mask policy for all indoor locations and any outdoor sites where social distancing isn’t possible. Most areas in the city are too narrow to allow people to be six-feet apart. Visitors and residents should have facial coverings available whenever leaving their homes or hotel.

Q: Are restaurants open in New York?

The city only allows indoor dining in orange and yellow zones. During phase four, they set the maximum capacity at 25%. Diners still must wear a mask when they’re not eating or drinking. All staff should cover their face while working indoors and outdoors.

Q: Are gyms open in New York?

Gyms and fitness centers in yellow zones can open. The capacity can’t exceed 33%. If an area changes to orange, the facilities must close. The city still requires masks in gyms, and members should stay six feet apart to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Owners need to follow strict sanitizing and disinfecting procedures. Members should have access to approved cleaning products to wipe down the machines between uses. Staff needs to clean continually to prevent the infection from spreading. Owners can also employ professional disinfection spraying and deep cleaning services from a local commercial cleaning company to bolster their precautions.

Q: What businesses and services are open in New York?

Most businesses and services are open in New York. Many have restrictions on capacity. All employees and customers need to wear a mask when indoors or in an area where social distancing isn’t possible.

Q: What does New York define as “essential business” during COVID?

New York lists the following services as essential:

  • All necessary health care and dental services
  • Veterinary and livestock medical services
  • Medical billing services
  • Speech pathologists and services
  • Hotels
  • Campgrounds
  • Telecommunications and data centers
  • Public water and wastewater
  • Public and private utilities
  • Transportation facilities
  • Manufacturing businesses
  • Grocery stores
  • Cell phone sales and repair services
  • Farmers’ markets
  • Trash and recycling activities
  • Auto repair

This isn’t an extensive list. Services and businesses allowed may change as community transmissions increase or decrease.

Q: Are large gatherings allowed in New York?

No. NYS and NYC have set strict guidelines for gatherings, including bans on all large events. In the city, areas in the yellow zone can gather for up to 25 people indoors and outdoors. New York limits locations within an orange zone to ten people, and all non-essential gatherings in a red zone are banned.

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