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New York Opening Back Up for Business
Posted by Emily Pazel

If you are like the millions of Americans who felt like this past year has been anything but ordinary, you will be glad to know that things are starting to head back to normal life. Or, at least as normal as things can be during a global pandemic. Especially in the state of New York, businesses, schools and other in-person activities have started to return back as we head into a nearly post-pandemic world.

“Most businesses and schools are now allowed to be open in New York City,” writes NYC Health. “Employers, administrators and other responsible parties must review, attest to and comply with New York State’s industry-specific guidance.”

For several months, New York and the surrounding areas were hot spots for COVID-19 and the city was ultimately on lock down to help slow the spread of the virus. With many of the state becoming vaccinated and infection rates at the lowest the state has ever seen, the state has started to slowly lift restrictions on in-person activities. In fact, one of the newest major announcements made was that Broadway is opening its doors back up in the coming months.

Before opening back up, however, all businesses must submit a business affirmation form, which confirms that businesses are in compliance with the state’s guidelines, and create a safety plan, according to NYC Health, a City of New York site that promotes and protects the city’s health. And, depending on the industry that you work in, you may have to file or create an additional plan before opening.

Opening Back Up Guidelines

Just in time for the weather to start warming up and schools reaching summer break, New York City and the surrounding areas should find themselves getting out of the house and enjoying in-person activities more in the coming months.

Everyone is ready to get things back to normal. However, there are some guidelines that the state and city recommend in order to safely and efficiently get back to normality.

Are you looking to schedule an event? Graduation is coming up right around the corner and many people are looking to celebrate their graduates. For “in-person end-of-academic-year celebrations”, per NYC Health, venue operators have to complete an application.

“Social gatherings, such as proms and balls, can occur beginning June 1st. To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, try to keep in-person events as small as possible and hold them outdoors,” NYC Health states. “Consider holding multiple smaller events instead of one large event. By keeping events small, participants also do not need to present proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test result or proof of full vaccination. Participants must follow all risk reduction measures in the NYS guidelines.”

Are you an employer looking to reopen your business? The good news is that most businesses will be able to open up again soon, and decisions on whether to recommend or require employee testing is at the discretion of the employer. However, the employer can play an important role in helping prevent the spread of the virus by implementing screenings, having safety protocols and other safety plans. NYC Health even created a whole "What Employers Need to Know” guideline to help business owners reopen and implement strategies to ensure a safe experience.

Are you a restaurant or food service establishment in NYC? According to NYC Health, restaurants and other places to eat can now offer indoor dining at 50 percent of maximum capacity, while still offering outdoor dining, pick-up and delivery. Restaurants can stay open until midnight and catered events can be held until 1:00 a.m. If you own a restaurant or food service establishment, NYC Health has even created several different COVID-19 informational posters you can print out for your staff and customers.

Do you work at a school in NYC? According to NYC Health, if you work at a public school in NYC, you should visit the NYC Department of Education to see what the details are for reopening. However, if you are a nonpublic, charter school, childcare or camp, NYC Health has provided detailed instructions on how to safely and efficiently open for this coming school year.

Do you play sports? “Outdoor competitive play for high-risk sports, as defined by New York State, can resume,” NYC writes. “This includes competitive team practices, games, scrimmages, meets, matches and tournaments. Competitive play for low- and moderate-risk sports, as defined by New York State, is also permitted.”

Although all the guidelines, forms and requests might seem overwhelming, they are all for the benefit of opening your business or operation at the safety of your clients, customers, staff and ultimately, yourself. Taking the first steps to resume normal, daily life is here and hopefully here to stay for a while. Now that businesses are back open, tourism – one of NYC’s top industries – will start to pick back up.

Tourism Coming Back to NYC

The five boroughs that make up New York City fell silent while the city went on lockdown after the global pandemic made its way through the country. Little by little, the city and state has eased up on restrictions, making way for businesses and life to continue on in the bustling city.

Recently, Governor Andrew Cuomo said that businesses could reopen again as long as they leave space for “patrons to maintain social distance.” This new guidance also allows indoor arenas to function at 30 percent capacity, with participants needing to wear masks and test negative for the virus within 72 hours of the event. Major transportation services, such as the subways, have also returned to running it’s typical 24-hour service.

NYC is full of things to do, places to go and people to see. Attractions, museums, zoos, botanical gardens and more are starting to slowly reopen with limited hours of operation and limited capacity. “Love-risk outdoor activities,” such as zoos, botanical gardens, nature parks and the grounds of historical sites and outdoor museums have opened and are following CDC guidelines.

Broadway made headlines recently in the news that it is officially opening its doors and has scheduled the first show, called Hadestown, for September 2. Broadway musical theaters and other entertainment businesses around the city were one of the hardest hit industries during the pandemic after having to completely close down nearly a year ago.

“Businesses across all five boroughs are working toward a common goal: to welcome back guests, employees and the community at large while ensuring everyone’s health and safety,” states NYC: The Official Guide.

While things might seem like a far stretch from operating at 100 percent, things have slowly started to get back to normal, especially with businesses beginning to open their doors up. If you decide to travel into the city or visit a museum, try to do your research before you go. You will want to confirm with the business about their hours, protocol and whether or not you need a reservation due to limited capacity. NYC has come a long way from the start of the pandemic – its resilience is the reason why guests and people come back. So, mark the dates and schedule your visit as NYC comes back to life.