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NYC Corona Virus Updates: December 2020 – What are the Rules for Business that are allowed to Open?

Indoor dining suspended

Beginning Monday, December 14, all restaurants and bars must close indoor dining until further notice. Outdoor dining, takeout, and delivery are still allowed.

Restaurants and bars are still required to close outdoor dining from 10 PM to 5 AM daily. Takeout and delivery are still allowed after 10 PM, except for alcoholic beverages.

Reopening NYC public school buildings

On Thursday, November 19, all school buildings temporarily closed for teaching and learning, and all New York City public school students transitioned to fully remote learning. Public school buildings have begun reopening in phases for in-person learning.

  • 3-K, Pre-K, and elementary schools reopened on Monday, December 7th. Schools in orange COVID-19 zones reopened on Wednesday, December 9th.
  • District 75 schools (all grades), including schools in orange COVID-19 zones, reopened on Thursday, December 10th.
  • Students in grades 6 through 12 (other than those in District 75 schools) will continue to learn remotely until further notice.

In order for your child to return to in-person learning, you must submit the consent form for in-school COVID-19 testing. Mandatory in-school testing will happen weekly for a random selection of staff and students in all reopened school buildings. Exemptions will be granted only in certain limited cases.

New York City’s Localized Restriction

COVID-19 continues to spread in New York City (NYC) with concerning increases in community transmission in certain neighborhoods. NYC is taking action by implementing restrictions in three zones identified by the State — red, orange, yellow. Find out if you are in a Covid-19 Hotspot Zone.

Red Zone

Schools: All New York City public schools and nonpublic schools must close and return to full remote learning.

Businesses: All nonessential businesses are required to close. Only essential businesses as designated by New York State Empire State Development Corporation can remain open.

Food Service Establishments: Restaurants, bars, cafes and other food service establishments can provide takeout and delivery service only. No indoor or outdoor dining is allowed.

Houses of Worship: Houses of worship may remain open at 25% capacity, up to a maximum of 10 people, whichever is fewer.

Gatherings: Non-essential gatherings of any size are prohibited and must be postponed or cancelled. Any individual who encourages, promotes or organizes mass gatherings may be fined up to $15,000/day.

Orange Zone

Schools: All New York City public schools and nonpublic schools must close and return to full remote learning.

Businesses: Businesses including gyms and fitness centers, and personal care services, including barbers, hair salons, spas, tattoo or piercing parlors, nail technicians and nail salons, cosmetologists, estheticians, the provision of laser hair removal and electrolysis, etc. must close.

Food Service Establishments: Restaurants, bars, cafes and other food service establishments can provide outdoor dining and takeout and delivery service only. There is a four-person maximum per table. No indoor dining is allowed.

Houses of Worship: Houses of worship may remain open at 33% capacity, up to a maximum of 25 people, whichever is fewer.

Gatherings: Non-essential gatherings must be limited to no more than 10 people for both indoor and outdoor settings. Any individual who encourages, promotes or organizes mass gatherings may be fined up to $15,000/day.

Yellow Zone

Schools: All New York City public schools and nonpublic schools may remain open. Testing guidance will be issued by New York State on Friday, 10/9/2020.

Businesses: All businesses may remain open but must follow COVID-19 requirements for their sector.

Food Service Establishments: Indoor and outdoor dining is allowed. There is a four-person maximum per table.

Houses of Worship: Houses of worship may remain open at 50% maximum capacity.

Gatherings: Non-essential gatherings must be limited to 25 people maximum for both indoor and outdoor settings. Any individual who encourages, promotes or organizes mass gatherings may be fined up to $15,000/day.

Effective Friday, November 13, at 10 p.m., all bars, restaurants, and gyms or fitness centers, as well as any State Liquor Authority-licensed establishment, will be required to close from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily.

Restaurants will still be allowed to provide curbside, food-only pick-up or delivery after 10 p.m. so long as otherwise permitted, but cannot serve alcohol to go. The State Liquor Authority will issue further guidance for licensees.

Open Storefronts Program

NYC announced the Open Storefronts program on October 28, which allows storefront businesses to temporarily use a portion of the sidewalk directly in front of their business to promote open space, enhance social distancing, and help them rebound in these difficult economic times.

Businesses that meet eligibility criteria identified by the City will be able to: 

  • display merchandise
  • complete transactions
  • provide areas for customers to line up

All ground-floor storefront businesses can participate after completing a brief online form acknowledging their understanding of the program’s criteria and restrictions.

For designated Open Streets: Restaurants corridors, the Open Storefronts program will also permit businesses to use the curbside lane to conduct business activities during the hours that Open Streets: Restaurants is in effect.

 

Restart NYC – Guidance for Phase Four

The City entered Phase Four of Restart NYC on July 20. This phase includes reopening for low-risk outdoor arts & entertainment, media production, and professional sports competitions with no fans. The date for higher education, Pre-K to grade 12 schools, low-risk indoor arts & entertainment, and malls have not yet been determined.

Phase Four: All regions of the state have entered Phase 4 of reopening.

  • Higher Education
  • Pre-K to Grade 12 Schools
  • Low-Risk Outdoor Arts & Entertainment
  • Low-Risk Indoor Arts & Entertainment
  • Media Production
  • Professional Sports Competitions with No Fans
  • Malls
  • Gyms and Fitness Centers

Below is Phase Four guidance for the following:

If you operate any above business or activity in New York City, new mandates from New York State require you to do the following at the start of Phase 4:

  • Develop a Safety Plan and post it at your work site.
  • Read New York State (NYS) guidelines and affirm compliance. 
  • The State requires that you affirm that you have reviewed and understand the State-issued industry guidelines and that you will implement them. 

 

View the full list of requirements on the State website to make sure you are in compliance, and protect employees and customers by taking the following steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19: 

  1. Stay Home if Sick Unless you are leaving for essential medical care (including testing) or other essential errands, stay home if sick. You can also consider implementing additional actions like the ones below to encourage those who are sick to stay home: 
  • Post the Stop the Spread poster in employee areas. Additional languages are available on nyc.gov/health/coronavirus or by calling 311 to order a copy. 
  • Perform health screening remotely before employees arrive, where possible. 
  • Encourage patrons/visitors to complete a health screen or provide their contact information 
  1. Physical Distancing Stay at least 6 feet away from other people. You can also consider implementing additional actions like the ones below to keep physical distance: 
  • Use tape, signs with arrows or other markers to indicate flow of traffic through exhibits, denote 6ft apart for exhibits that are small and likely to become crowded. 
  • Close communal areas/amenities that promote additional gathering such as cafes or vending machines. 
  • Where possible, schedule employee meetings and training sessions by phone or online. 
  • Get creative! Think about how to incorporate a flow of traffic into materials for kids and how to demonstrate physical distancing 
  • At ticket counters and bag checks, consider using barriers like plastic shield walls between employees and patrons. Post markers using tape or signs that denote 6 feet of spacing. 
  • If you offer lockers to store belongings stagger the use of available lockers to promote physical distancing. 
  • Implement specific visit times when issuing tickets (e.g., timed entrances/exits) to avoid crowding and encourage patrons to buy tickets ahead of time. 
  1. Wear a Face Covering Protect those around you. You can be contagious without symptoms and spread the disease when you cough, sneeze or talk. A face covering can help reduce the spread of COVID-19. You can also consider implementing additional actions like the ones below to encourage the use of face coverings: 
  • Provide face coverings to patrons and make them available in high-traffic areas 
  • Place receptacles around the facility for disposal of soiled items, including face coverings. 
  • Add a reminder to bring a face covering to tour/event reminder texts or emails. 
  1. Practice Healthy Hand Hygiene Wash your hands often with soap and water or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available; clean frequently touched surfaces regularly; avoid touching your face with unwashed hands; and cover your cough or sneeze with your sleeve, not your hands. You can also consider implementing additional actions like the ones below to help maintain healthy hand hygiene: 
  • Encourage contactless payment, including payment in advance where possible. 
  • Provide single-use maps, pamphlets, or guides to patrons/visitors, if such items are used. 
  • Consider making maps, pamphlets, guides, etc. digital, so they can be viewed on personal devices.

Restart NYC – Guidance for businesses under Phase Three

NYC entered Phase Three of Restart NYC on July 6th. Businesses that may start operations in Phase Three include personal care services such as tattoo and piercing parlors, appearance enhancement practices, massage therapy practices, spas, cosmetology salons, nail salons, tanning salons, and waxing salons. Indoor dining will no longer be available in Phase Three.

Learn what your business needs to know to prepare for reopening.

For additional information on Phase Three reopening guidelines, click here.

Restart NYC – Guidance for businesses under Phase Two

NYC entered Phase Two of Restart NYC on June 22. Businesses that may start or expand operations included: offices, in-store retail, outdoor dining, hair salons and barbershops, real estate, commercial building management, and retail rental, repair and cleaning, vehicle sales, leases, and rentals. Learn what your business needs to know to prepare for reopening.

For additional information on Phase Two reopening guidelines click here.

Restart NYC – Guidance for businesses under Phase One

NYC entered Phase One of Restart NYC on June 8. Businesses that may start to reopen or expand operations included: retail, construction, manufacturing and wholesale trade. Although you can reopen your worksite, the best way to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect employees is to continue working from home as much as possible.

For a Phase 1 reopening fact sheet for employers and workers click here.

For additional information on guidelines click here.

Website Resources: 

https://www1.nyc.gov/site/coronavirus/index.page

https://www1.nyc.gov/site/coronavirus/businesses/businesses-and-nonprofits.page

https://www1.nyc.gov/site/sbs/businesses/covid19-business-tips-faqs.page#reopening

https://www1.nyc.gov/nycbusiness/article/reopening-guide

 

 

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