You can learn about how businesses will be reopening, health and safety in the workplace, your rights under the law, and other resources to help you return to work during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Due to the rise in COVID-19 cases in certain neighborhoods, the City is implementing restrictions for businesses, schools, and gatherings in three zones identified by the State—red, orange, yellow. Red zones are the areas of the most concern and the greatest restrictions.

Citywide Restrictions

  • All public school buildings closed on Thursday, November 19 and will reopen in phases. To learn more, visit the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Schools page.
     
  • As of Friday, November 13, all gyms and fitness centers must close from 10 PM to 5 AM daily.
     
  • As of Friday, February 26, all restaurants, bars, catering halls, clubs, manufacturers with tasting rooms, and other food service establishments in New York City may reopen indoor dining at 35% capacity. Outdoor dining, takeout and delivery are still allowed. Restaurants and bars are required to close indoor and outdoor dining from 11 PM to 5 AM daily. Takeout and delivery are still allowed after 11 PM, except for alcoholic beverages. 

Manhattan COVID Zones

  • As of January 27, a yellow zone, which covers a large portion of upper Manhattan, remains in effect.

Bronx COVID Zones

  • As of January 27, two yellow zones, which cover large portions of the Bronx, remain in effect.

Queens COVID Zones

  • As of January 27, the Queens yellow zone remains in effect.
Type of ActivityRed ZoneOrange ZoneYellow Zone
SchoolsCLOSED
Mandatory testing of 30% of students and staff for in-person settings for a month.
CLOSED
Mandatory testing of 20% of students and staff for in-person settings for a month.
OPEN
Mandatory testing of 20% of students and staff for in-person settings for 2 weeks.
BusinessesEssential businesses openOpen, with additional restrictions for high-risk businesses *Open
Mass GatheringsProhibited10 people maximum, indoor and outdoor25 people maximum, indoor and outdoor
DiningDelivery and takeout only

Delivery, takeout, and outdoor dining only

4 person maximum per table

Delivery, takeout, and outdoor dining only

4 person maximum per table

Worship

50% capacity

50% capacity50% capacity

* High-risk non-essential businesses:

  • Gyms, fitness centers and classes must operate at 25% capacity. 
  • Barber shops, hair salons, and other personal care services can provide services so long as employees performing services are tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis. Other personal care services include spas, tattoo or piercing parlors, nail technicians and nail salons, cosmetologists, estheticians, laser hair removal, and electrolysis.

The City has created a zone look-up tool to help New Yorkers check which zone they are located in.

Use the COVID-19 Zone Finder.

To report a business in a COVID-19 zone not following zone guidelines, visit the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Zone Business Complaint page.

To report a school not following COVID-19 health and safety rules, visit the School Reopening Complaint page.

New York City businesses are reopening in phases.

The City is currently in Phase 4 of the State’s New York Forward Plan for reopening.

Within each phase, non-essential businesses may reopen if they belong to certain industries. 

Phase 1 (began June 8, 2020)Phase 2 (began June 22, 2020)
Phase 3 (began July 6, 2020)Phase 4 (began July 20, 2020)

Essential businesses and business activities that are open may remain open, but they must follow health and safety rules.

    Movie Theaters

    Movie theaters in New York City can begin opening on March 5 with the following restrictions:

    • Venues are restricted to 25% capacity, with no more than 50 people per screen at a time
    • Masks will be required at all times except when seated and eating or drinking
    • Assigned seating will be required in all theaters
    • Social distancing between parties will be required at all times
    • Additional staffing will be required to control occupancy, traffic and seating to ensure compliance
    • Enhanced air filtration, ventilation, and purification standards must be met by theaters

    Billiard and Pool Halls

    Billiard and pool halls in New York City can begin opening on March 5 with the following restrictions:

    • Halls are restricted to 35% capacity in New York City
    • Masks will be required at all times except when seated and eating or drinking
    • Mandatory social distancing must be enforced, or physical barriers between parties of customers must be installed
    • Each party must be assigned to a table to avoid contact with other parties
    • Staff must rigorously clean and disinfect any rented or shared equipment between use

    Weddings and Catered Events

    Weddings and catered events in New York City can begin opening on March 15 with the following restrictions:

    • Venues are restricted to 50% capacity, with no more than 150 people per event
    • All patrons must be tested prior to the event
    • Sign-in with contact information is required, to assist with potential contact tracing
    • Venues must notify local health departments of large events above the social gathering limit, in advance.
    • Masks will be required at all times except when seated and eating or drinking
    • Ceremonial and socially-distanced dancing allowed under strict guidelines

    Event, Arts and Entertainment Venues

    Event, arts and entertainment venues with a capacity of 10,000 people or less in New York City can begin opening on April 2 with the following restrictions:

    • Venues are restricted to 33% capacity, up to 100 people indoors and up to 200 people outdoors
    • If all attendees present proof of negative test prior to entry, capacity can increase up to 150 people indoors and up to 500 people outdoors
    • Masks and social distancing will be required by all attendees
    • Strict adherence to all applicable Department of Health guidance

    Online

    By Phone

    You can get answers to questions about reopening, health and safety guidelines for the workplace, or report an employer that is not following reopening requirements.

    • Agency: Department of Consumer Affairs
    • Division: Worker Protection Hotline
    • Phone Number: (212) 436-0381
    • Business Hours: Monday - Friday: 9 AM - 5 PM

    To reopen and stay open, business must follow State-mandated health and safety rules.

    These rules apply to both non-essential businesses and essential businesses that were previously permitted to remain open.

    Rules for All Businesses

    Safety Plan

    Businesses must develop a Safety Plan outlining how it will prevent the spread of COVID-19 in its workplace.

    You can fill out the New York Forward Safety Plan Template or develop your own Safety Plan.

    The Safety Plan doesn’t need to be submitted to an agency for approval, but it must be posted at the worksite where everyone can see it and be made available to City or State agencies during inspections.

    Employee Symptoms Screening

    Businesses must conduct employee health screenings every day. Employees who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home or go home if they become sick at work.

    Learn more on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Worker Symptoms Screening page.

    Hygiene and Cleaning

    Businesses must:

    • Train employees on hygiene and safety practices
    • Provide and maintain hand hygiene stations for their employees. The stations must include hand washing with soap, water, and paper towels, and/or contact-free hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol for areas where handwashing isn’t feasible.
    • Regularly clean shared equipment and frequently touched surfaces

    Face Coverings

    Under the State’s Executive Order, face coverings are required in public for any individual over the age of two and those who do not have a medical condition that can prevent them from wearing a face covering.

    Employers must give employees free face coverings and proper protective equipment and provide replacements

    Business owners or building operators, or those authorized on their behalf can deny access to individuals who fail to wear a face covering on the premises.

    Social and Physical Distancing

    Workers must:

    • Keep at least 6 feet of distance between themselves and others unless safety or core function of the work activity requires less
    • Wear a mask or a face covering if they are less than 6 feet from others

    Employers must:

    • Reduce occupancy to under 50% and limit confined spaces to one person (elevators, behind cash registers, etc.)
    • Post signs and put tape or other markers to show people where to stand
    • Limit all in-person gatherings and meetings, and only hold them in large, well-ventilated areas with social distancing

    Rules for Specific Industries

    Businesses must also follow guidelines specific to their industry.

    You can get detailed industry-specific guidelines on the following pages:

    Get Help

    You can get answers to questions about reopening, health and safety guidelines for the workplace, or report an employer that is not following reopening requirements.

    • Agency: Department of Consumer Affairs
    • Division: Worker Protection Hotline
    • Phone Number: (212) 436-0381
    • Business Hours: Monday - Friday: 9 AM - 5 PM

    In addition to keeping their workers and customers safe during the COVID-19 crisis, employers must continue to follow the workplace protection laws in place for their employees.

    Worker Rights

    Sick Leave

    Under the City’s paid sick leave law, covered employees have the right to use safe and sick leave for the care and treatment of themselves or a family member. The federal and state governments have also passed laws to protect workers. To learn more, visit the Paid Safe and Sick Leave page.

    In addition to paid sick leave, employees may be eligible for 2 additional days of unpaid leave under NYC’s Temporary Schedule Change Law. For more information, visit the Temporary Work Schedule Change page.

    Work Schedule Changes

    Under the law, covered employees have a right to temporary changes to their work schedule for certain personal events. Learn more on the Temporary Work Schedule Change page.

    Commuter Benefits Law

    Most New York City companies with 20 or more full-time employees must provide pre-tax transit benefits. Learn more on the Commuter Benefits Law page. 

    Work Protections for Specific Workers

    Retail and Fast Food Workers

    Retail and fast food employers must offer employees predictable work schedules and give advance notice of changes or cancelations. Learn more on the Fair Workweek Law page.

    Fast food workers have the right to have payments deducted voluntarily from their paycheck and have those payments sent to a nonprofit of the worker’s choosing. Learn more on the Fast Food Deductions Law page.

    Grocery Store Workers

    After a grocery store is sold, the former owner and new owner must notify the store's workers about the change in ownership and their employment rights. For more information, visit the Grocery Store Sale Requirements page.

    Paid Care Workers

    Paid care workers include homecare and domestic workers such as:

    • Nannies
    • Caregivers
    • Home health aides
    • Personal care aides
    • Home attendants
    • House cleaners

    You can learn about paid care worker rights, legal responsibilities for employers and get help with questions or complaints on the Paid Care Worker or Employer Assistance page.

    Freelance Workers

    You can learn about freelance worker rights, legal responsibilities for employers, and get help with questions or complaints, including contract disputes and payment issues on the Freelance Worker and Hiring Party Assistance page.

    COVID-19 Discrimination

    Employers cannot harass or discriminate against workers because of fears or stigma around COVID-19, including harassment or discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived race, national origin, disability, or other protected classes.

    If this is happening to you, you can report it to the NYC Commission on Human Rights. Learn more on the Discrimination page.

    Staying Home from Work

    If you need a note to stay home from work because you are sick with coronavirus symptoms, you can get one online.

    Download a health care provider note to excuse absence from work.

    Paid Sick Leave

    If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and need documentation so you can receive paid sick leave from your employer, visit the Paid Safe and Sick Leave page for information.

    Financial Assistance

    You can get information about cash assistance, SNAP, and other resources for New Yorkers during the outbreak on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources and Support page.

    NYC Financial Empowerment Centers also provide free one-on-one professional, financial counseling over the phone. Learn more on the Financial Counseling page.

    Child Care Options

    Regional Enrichment Centers (RECs) were created to provide childcare for essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic from March through the summer of 2020.

    All RECs closed permanently after Friday, September 11. RECs are no longer enrolling new students.

    The Department of Education's Learning Bridges program will provide free childcare options for children from 3-K through 8th grade on days when they are scheduled for remote learning. To learn more, visit the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Schools page.

    Unemployment and Jobs

    If you have become totally or partially unemployed due to COVID-19, you can claim unemployment insurance benefits. New York State is waiving the 7-day waiting period for unemployment insurance benefits for people who are out of work due to COVID-19 closures or quarantines.

    To learn more, visit the Unemployment Insurance page.

    Through Workforce1 Career Centers, you can receive free professional employment and training services that can help you find a job or develop your career. Currently, Workforce1 Career Centers are providing services online and by phone.

    To learn more, visit the Workforce1 Career Centers page.