NYC Covid Safety – Valuable Enhancements
5 Min Read – We just returned from New York City for the Thanksgiving holidays. While we’re a west coast family, our youngest had an opportunity to play a game at Madison Square Garden the Saturday after Thanksgiving. This was a unique experience that inspired us to alter our usual holiday routine. Excited as we were for the trip, NYC covid safety measures were certainly part of the decision process. NYC’s covid safe measures really raised our comfort level and made the whole experience more enjoyable!
While there are no perfect solutions to safely navigate a large city, NYC’s common sense approach to covid safety and its use of contactless technology went a long way towards keeping everyone as safe as possible.
Our 5 days in NYC, of course, doesn’t constitute exhaustive research. I’m sure there are exceptions to our observations. We were just pleasantly surprised how well New Yorkers and visitors alike seemed to really make the effort to take covid safe measures and act responsibly. I guess for a the city that was ground zero for the Covid wave, it makes sense that they’ve rallied with solutions to restore the city to its normal vibrant self.
Masks On… Where it Makes Sense
I guess it depends where one falls on the mask debate. For me personally, if I’m indoors and in close contact with a big group of strangers I’m fine with sporting a mask. That seems to be how NYC looks at it too. If you’re on the metro or a train, put your mask on. From what we saw, most everyone complied, without being prompted. That seems like no small feat for such a massive city.
When we visited the MoMA museum, everyone was required to wear a mask inside…everyone complied.
Caught a play on Broadway (Mrs Doubtfire, the musical… very funny!) Everyone wore a mask. Unfortunately, there were no drinks/snacks during intermission, to maintain the mask rule. Note to self: have a cocktail prior to attending the performance!
A visit inside Bergdorf Goodman to see the holiday displays (or any store, for that matter… masks on.
Of course, if you are wandering through Central Park, Times Square or outside watching the Macy’s Parade, masks are completely optional. We were surprised to see many pedestrians choose to wear masks on crowded sidewalks. Frankly, on a few crowded sidewalks, we pulled the mask back on too.
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Contactless Tech makes life cleaner, faster!
By now most everyone has used QR codes in place of menus at restaurants; a quick wave of your cell’s camara over the QR code and the menu pops up.
In 2019, NYC added an OMNY fare system to its metro and train systems. OMNY is just more great technology that makes getting around the city faster and more convenient.. Long after covid is behind us.
If you have digital credit card payment setup on your Apple or Android phone, you can now just wave your phone over the reader at the turnstyle of any metro station. The fee is automatically charged and the turnstyle opens. You don’t even need to download an app. When we got near the metro station, our cells asked us if we wanted to “express pay with our phones” No more feeding money into fare card machines. No more standing in line.
Even our train trip from Newark Airport to Penn Station was contactless. In this case, we downloaded the NJ TRansit App, prepaid our train fare, and the conductors scanned our QR code once we were underway.
- My son’s game at Madison Square Garden, digital tickets for entry
- Museums – purchase digital tickets in advance
- Broadway Plays – option to get digital tickets in advance
Contactless options made access to the events we attended much quicker, easier… and healthier.
Outdoor Options for Numerous Restaurants
Like much of the country, many restaurants have added permanent outdoor seating options. While this is a relatively simple process for us “West Coasters” NYC has weather considerations that add another layer of complexity.
In some cases available outdoor space is carved out and space heaters are added. We thoroughly enjoyed a relaxing happy hour under a space heater at the Fever Tree Porch in Bryant Park. The Park does a terrific holiday mart, complete with stores, bars & a skating rink as a centerpiece. Almost all of the holiday mart is partially to fully outdoors.
For more upscale restaurants, there are bubble tents just outside the venue for small group dining. You and your dining partners are in your own see through tent. While there are still many restaurants that have only indoor service, bubble tents and outdoor dining are a great option for another level of safety. Frankly, given the choice of being outside has always appealed to me for a great dining experience!
Vaccine Card a Must!
NYC has really made the vaccine card the gold standard for entry into most establishments.
From restaurants and pubs, Madison Square Garden to Broadway, flashing your vaccine card and valid ID are a must. From what we experienced, the restaurants, and entertainment venues were doing a brisk business despite the additional check step. Again, it was pleasantly surprising how calm & compliant customers were with this process.
Progress from Choas
Like most people, permanently setting masks and vaccine cards aside can’t come quickly enough! After 18 months of this pandemic, the idea that Omicron (or XYZ variant) virus could extend global havoc is difficult to contemplate. I really admire what NYC has implemented in order to circumvent what was a devastating situation in the early months of the pandemic. Resilient New Yorkers are keeping the economy afloat in the most difficult of circumstances!
When we do rise above this pandemic (hopefully in the near future) many of the steps NYC has implemented will surely live on. Outdoor seating, contactless tech, digital health cards make life better now and well into the future.
While life offers no guarantees, NYC’s measures to restore life to as close to normalcy as possible is admirable!