Travel Advisories & Vaccine Mandates - The Latest Updates from New York City

12/20/2021



Hi Everyone,

Today, we are sharing the latest updates from New York City including newly implemented Health Guidelines and the Omicron Variant, which has been identified in more than 40 countries and also here in the US. As you know, the Federal Government has already tightened the requirements for pre-departure testing requiring all travelers, regardless of vaccination status, to submit evidence of a negative Covid-19 test (PCR or rapid antigen) taken within one day from the flight towards the US.

For the State of NY, our Governor Kathy Hochul has announced that masks must be worn in all indoor settings where vaccines are not checked or mandated (i.e. stores, indoor public plazas, etc.) this measure has been in effect since December 13th. For any new official updates on travels/entry into the United States for international (and non-international) travelers, we remind you to refer to the CDC Website.

NYC Testing Sites - Lines & Turnaround Times

Please note that due to the recent surge in Covid-19 cases here in NYC, testing sites have run in a bit of a backlog. Although NYC has a plethora of free Testing Sites around the city, you should note that due to the Holidays and the increasing number of tests administered lately, not only the lines may be longer than usual but also the turnaround went from an average of 24 hours to 36-72+ hours. Please make sure you allow ample timing for testing as well as you are following the guidelines/requirements of the country you are flying to. We remind you that when you are departing the US, it is not the US that dictates the type (if any) of testing you have to show before boarding, and any other rule you must abide by, but the country you are flying to. For domestic flights, no testing is at the moment required.

There are places around the city that do offer tests by appointment only including the rapid Antigen, however, most of them do charge for the test.

New York City and Omicron - Updates to "Key to NYC"

A couple of new requirements were recently introduced to what is called "Key to NYC" which is for all intents and purposes the NYC Vaccine Mandate. Key to NYC states that for most indoor activities and indoor dining you must show proof of vaccination to gain access. Activities such as catering, indoor dining, sports & entertainment venues, etc. are covered under the mandate. The latest update introduced a couple of new requirements including proof of vaccination for children age 5 to 11 (they were exempted from the mandate until last week.) This new rule went into effect December 14th requiring children (5-11) to show proof of at least 1 Vaccine dose. Starting December 27th, children & adults age 12+ will be required to have and show proof of the full (two-dose) cycle, and starting January 28th, children 5-11 will join everybody else required to have the 2 doses.

The new rule added to the Key to NYC to include Children to be fully vaccinated has left some International Travelers a bit puzzled. You see, in the US we are far ahead making vaccines available to our children, and the entire vaccination cycle including boosters is available to basically the entire population age 5+. We understand that several countries, including European countries, do not have vaccines readily available for the little ones, however, the Key to NYC mandate follows the local efforts and progress in vaccinating the general population, and so it is only fair that as vaccines have become more available to all ages even the mandate has followed along with the progress. We will continue to monitor and keep you updated as things change and you can also find all the information and updates on the Key to NYC on their official website - here.

What awaits you in New York this early 2022

NYC Winter Outing will return from January 18th to February 13th, 2022, offering visitors and locals the opportunity to experience Winter Experiences at a reduced price with three popular programs:
  • NYC Restaurant Week®
  • NYC Broadway Week
  • NYC Must-See Week
  • With the addition of the first-ever NYC Hotel Week.

Hotels across the city will offer a 22% discount on hotel stays. You will have all 5 boroughs to choose from!

We recommend to always keep in mind the responsible, and necessary, precautions to avoid contracting and spreading Covid including mask-wearing whenever social distancing is not possible, and frequent hand-washing.


On behalf of the New York Welcome Team, we wish you and yours a happy Holiday Season and prosperous 2022.