Authorities in New York State are maintaining existing business and travel restrictions, as of Dec. 4, to limit the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Under the current directives, all indoor and outdoor gatherings must be limited to 10 people or less, and restaurants, bars, gyms, and fitness centers, as well as all establishments that sell alcohol, must close daily between 2200-0500. Restaurants may continue offering delivery and pickup services during those times, but may not sell alcohol.
Most businesses are allowed to open; however, in New York City, indoor malls and movie theaters remain closed, and cultural events remain prohibited. Otherwise, indoor dining, personal care businesses, and malls may operate at 50-percent capacity; gyms and fitness centers, as well as outdoor entertainment venues, may operate at 33-percent capacity; movie theaters and indoor low-risk entertainment venues, such as museums and aquariums, may open at 25-percent capacity outside of New York City. Ski resorts are allowed to reopen, ensuring a maximum of 50-percent capacity at indoor locations.
Stricter measures are in place to address COVID-19 clusters in several counties. The clusters are categorized in one of three levels, depending on the levels of COVID-19 activity. As of Dec. 4, there are no clusters at the red level, the most restrictive one, under which nonessential businesses must close, nonessential gatherings are prohibited, dining businesses can only operate for delivery and pickup, and only 10 people are allowed at houses of worship. In clusters at the orange level, 25 people are allowed at houses of worship, dining businesses may offer outdoor and delivery services, and personal care businesses must close. As of Dec. 4, parts of Chemung, Erie, Monroe, Niagara, Onondaga, and Westchester counties, as well as Staten Island, have clusters at the orange level. Areas in Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens in New York City, and in Nassau, Suffolk, Orange, Rockland, and Tioga counties are at the yellow or precautionary level, as of Dec. 4.
Essential businesses have not been subject to mandatory COVID-19-related closures. Authorities require all persons, including essential workers, to wear facemasks when in public and whenever they cannot adhere to social distancing guidelines.
New York State also has travel restrictions in place. Under the current measures, travelers who were in another state or in a country categorized at Levels 2, 3, or 4 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for more than 24 hours must self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, unless they take a COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to their arrival to New York and, on arrival, enter three days of quarantine. On day four of quarantine, travelers must obtain another COVID-19 test. If both tests are negative, travelers may exit quarantine upon receipt of the second test.
Travelers who were out of New York state for less than 24 hours will not need a test and do not need to quarantine on arrival. However, said travelers must take a test 96 hours after they arrive in New York. All travelers to the state are required to fill out a Traveler Health Form. Persons who do not fill out the form are subject to a fine and possible quarantine. All travelers, except those traveling via air, fill out an online form. Air travelers fill out a form at the airport. Travelers from states that are contiguous with New York State (Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont) and essential workers are exempt from all these requirements.
Travelers from countries categorized at Level 1 by the CDC are not subject to the quarantine or testing requirements. As of Dec. 4, there are 51 countries and territories at Level 1, including Australia, China, Ivory Coast, Mongolia, New Zealand, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Authorities could reimpose, extend, further ease, or otherwise amend any restrictions with little-to-no notice depending on disease activity over the coming weeks.
All persons traveling to or from New York State should reconfirm entry and departure requirements before travel. Ensure that all required documentation has been completed to ensure ease of travel. Heed the directives of the local authorities. Plan for delays at entry points.
Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.