Life in NYC after Coronavirus

With the coronavirus somewhat slowing down in NYC and New York state, plans to reopen the economy have begun. Because the virus is still most likely being spread, there are a lot of questions being asked about what would life in NYC after coronavirus would look like. Surely, there will be certain restrictions.

Andrew Cuomo, who is the governor of New York plans to “UN-pause” the state up slowly. On May 9th, Governor Cuomo extended the “PAUSE” order for New York to June 7th. However, certain regions are still able to re-open by May 15th. It looks like New York City won’t re-open until June.

Once NYC opens, how will it look like and what will we be able to do?

Multi-phase reopening for New York and NYC

NYC Skyline

Right now NYC streets are empty in all of the boroughs. There’s no one in sight in Manhattan and DUMBO which is usually packed with people is eerily quiet. Governor Cuomo has planned out the 4-phase plan that will re-open the state and NYC. The first phase of reopening NYC will begin with construction workers and manufacturers. The second phase will be determined depending on how the first phase plays out and this includes, retail, professional services, finance and insurance, administrative support and real estate. Phase three includes restaurants, food services and hotels. Phase four will be arts, entertainment, recreation, and education. Reopening downstate New York will most likely be coordinated with the tri-state area since people who live in New Jersey and Connecticut come down to NYC.

UPDATE 6/1/20 New York City is scheduled to reopen by June 8th with Phase 1. That means construction workers, manufactures and retail with curbside service can start doing business again. Most other regions are set to begin with their Phase 2 reopening. In NYC, we expect streets to start filling up with people again as the city returns to a new normal. We’re anticipating about 400,000 people to head back to work.

Social distancing in NYC post-coronavirus

Social distancing has been drilled into our brains for the last few months because of coronavirus in NYC, and it’s to the point where this behavior will be a part of our psyche for quite some time. When NYC opens back up, social distancing will definitely be encouraged, we just don’t know to what extent.

How will it be possible to stay at least 6 feet apart from people in a city where over 8 million people live and call home? New York City is pretty congested already and socially distancing from people could pose a challenge. Life in NYC after coronavirus will obviously affect restaurants, public transportation, and many other establishments that naturally bring in a lot of people.

Are masks mandatory in NYC?

Person with mask
Credit: tanaonte – adobe stock

In mid-April, New York state made it mandatory to wear masks where you can’t safely keep your distance from other people. Some stores now won’t let customers enter their establishment without a mask. Masks are meant to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 from each other. It’s even more important now since the latest antibody tests show that 1 in 4 New Yorkers had or have an infection.

UPDATE 5/28/2020 – Governor Cuomo has signed an executive order that allows businesses to deny entry to customers that refuse to wear a mask.

Prepare for street closures

A post-coronavirus NYC will see a lot of streets being closed. The city is doing this because people will need their space from each other. NYC is very congested and it will need to free up a lot of room in order to promote social distancing.

NYC Public Transportation and COVID-19

Times Square Subway

Millions of New Yorkers use the public transportation system ran by the MTA daily in order to get around. Governor Cuomo and the MTA stated on Thursday, April 30th, that they plan to disinfect public transportation such as trains, buses, LIRR, and Metro-North daily. Additionally, ridership will stop between 1 AM-5 AM to complete the cleaning.

For essential workers, the MTA will launch the “Essential Connector Program” where they will be able to access buses, for-hire vehicles, and compliant “dollar-vans” without any additional costs. This will go into effect on Wednesday, May 6th.

We will definitely be seeing fewer people on the subway and we hope most of the people will be wearing masks in order to protect themselves and others. When it comes to re-opening, the MTA is looking into “every possible” scenario including a reservation process. With hundreds of MTA stations and millions of people using the subway on a regular day, enforcing this could possibly pose a challenge.

When will Broadway shows open up?

Life in NYC after coronavirus will most likely not include Broadway shows for a while. These shows are top-rated among locals and tourists, and all it does is that it brings a large number of people into a small confined space. That scenario is perfect for coronavirus to spread between people.

The government will be taking every cautious step to slow down COVID-19. As of right now, 41 Broadway theaters have been closed since mid-march and will be closed at least until Labor Day in September. That can obviously change, and we’re hoping that they do open up in the summer, but don’t count on it.

When can we expect for observation decks to be open?

Edge NYC observation deck

We’re not exactly sure when NYC observation decks will be open again to the public. We hope that some of the buildings will open to people again soon, especially the ones with outdoor platforms such as Edge NYC, Empire State Building, and Top of the Rock. If they do open up, we’re almost sure masks will be required and they will definitely limit the number of people going up at the same time. Below are the observation decks and whether they are closed or open.

Museums and art galleries post-coronavirus

911 Museum before coronavirus
9/11 Museum pre-coronavirus

Museums and art galleries in NYC have been affected by the pandemic as well. Some museums are having trouble preserving artifacts because the staff isn’t able to work. As of right now, we’re not sure when they will open. Some are even providing virtual tours of the museum through the internet.

Will prices change for NYC tourist attractions?

There haven’t been any official statements from organizations in regard to price changes, but we won’t be surprised if there will be some. Maybe we’ll see more deals instead of a surge or drop in prices. At this point, the state is still assessing the situation.

Restaurants in NYC after coronavirus

Restaurants during coronavirus NYC

Opening restaurants will definitely be challenging when it comes to post-coronavirus NYC. Right now, we’re hearing that restaurants will not be allowed to have self-service buffets which could really damage restaurants that are based around that business model. Eateries operate on very slim profit margins.

Also, restaurants depend on seating as many people as possible throughout the day. With social distancing, this will definitely hurt the industry. The city will be looking to see if they could place seating on streets that will be closed. NYC plans on closing about 100 miles of streets to promote social distancing.

Will there be any events in NYC for summer 2020?

Macy's Fireworks NYC

For the short answer: Yes, there will be events and activities in NYC during the summer. Other than Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks, we’re just not exactly sure what those activities are. Governor Cuomo mentioned that there will be something for people to do in the city. However, we do know as of right now, public pools and beaches will be closed throughout the season.

UPDATE: NYC beaches will not be open for Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day weekend is coming up and that usually marks the “first unofficial day of summer”. Usually, many Americans would flock to the beach for this particular weekend, but with COVID-19, this makes it very challenging. Some parts of New York state will open their beaches for Memorial Day weekend, but at 50 percent capacity. However, NYC won’t be opening up its beaches because the risk is still too high.

NYC beaches during COVID-19

Beaches in NYC are currently closed for swimming and barbequing. Visitors are required to wear masks and have to make sure that they are standing at least 6 feet apart from other people. Visitors must also limit their time at the beach. The city council has asked to open up the beaches for swimming once the weather gets even warmer out. We all know that summer in NYC can get pretty intense.

Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks – post-coronavirus NYC

Mayor DeBlasio, who is the mayor of NYC stated that he spoke with the CEO of Macy’s, Jeffrey Gennette, and confirmed that there will be a 4th of July  Fireworks celebration in New York City this year. We will post more information about this event once the city receives updates.

Sports and post-coronavirus NYC

Entertainment will probably be very different when it comes to life in NYC after coronavirus. Just like Broadway shows, sporting events bring in huge crowds which would make it difficult for people to socially distance from each other. One way around this, however, is that there have been talks about sporting events taking place in an empty stadium. People have openly stated that they want their sports back and this might be the only way for right now.

Status of upcoming parades

New York City is home to numerous parades and that usually brings in a crowd. With COVID-19, this makes it very difficult for parades to continue. The parades in June 2020 have already been canceled. The parades include the National Puerto Rican Day Parade, the Celebrate Israel parade, and the Pride Parade which is their 50th anniversary. These are all major events so it’s a big deal that they got canceled two months out.

Will NYC parks be open?

Central Park coronavirus nyc

Parks in NYC have been open, even when the city and state were under “stay-at-home” order. Officials encourage to keep exercising but also warned to keep your distance from people. In order to promote social distancing, the city took down basketball hoops and soccer nets so people wouldn’t be tempted to play team games. Parks will also be distributing masks throughout the city.

It’s pretty strict, but at least we’re able to go outside and go for a run if needed. When the city slowly opens again, we anticipate that team sports will be held off for a while. We think that volleyball courts, soccer fields, basketball courts and certain areas of parks will be off-limits.

“Open Streets” Program in NYC

On Saturday, May 2nd, NYC started the process of opening up about seven miles of streets within and around parks for people so they can practice social distancing. The mayor eventually plans to open 100 miles of streets as the weather gets warmer. The parks included in the program are:

  • Fort Tryon Park
  • Flushing Meadows
  • Forest Hill Park
  • Callahan-Kelly Park
  • Grant Park
  • Silver Lake Park

Streets that are adjacent to parks include:

  • Williamsbridge Oval
  • Court Square
  • Carl Schurz
  • Highbridge Park
  • Prospect Park
  • Stapleton Waterfront Park
  • Lt. William Tighe Triangle

Will retail stores be open post-coronavirus in NYC?


Mortar and brick stores are taking a huge hit with the lockdown. Shopping in New York will most likely change for a while, but we’re expecting a lot of the stores to open up again. There will most likely be some type of restrictions, such as having a limit of people in the store at one time, and we think shops and boutiques will require customers to wear face masks.

Airports and health guidelines in the Tri-State area

At the end of April 2020, The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey started restricting access to all terminals at JFK airport, LaGuardia, and Newark International. Ticketed passengers and airport employees are the only ones allowed inside. This is to ensure that the number of people in a congested area is minimized. More updates will follow once we hear from the state.

Office-life in NYC after coronavirus

Offices and workspaces will have to adapt to the new normal. Once everything slowly re-opens, employers are encouraged to have a plan on how to promote social distancing within the work environment. Shared workspaces can be even trickier. WeWork has already sent out a PDF where they outline on how to move forward with COVID-19 in the workspace. Some of their plans include increased sanitation, reducing the number of seats in the community area, installing wipe stations and touch-free hand sanitizers, and many other changes to hygiene protocol.

NYC schools and post-coronavirus

New York state closed down schools back in March in order to stop the spread of COVID-19. There have been talks of possibly opening schools during the summer in order to finish the year. This too is also very tricky. Offices will most likely be open to some extent and children will need a place to go while parents are at work. We will update this once we receive more information.

NYC life after coronavirus and a potential second wave

Grand Central Station

The first wave is currently on a decline, but many experts fear of a second wave of coronavirus cases. If the economy opens up too fast and social distancing rules are relaxed, we could possibly see another lockdown, and recovery could take much longer. Life in NYC after coronavirus will be challenging, but we have no doubt that we will prevail. This is the reason why there are different phases of opening. NYC will most likely be the biggest challenge because it is already congested. Nevertheless, when things start opening-up, these are some of the things we look forward to post-COVID-19 in NYC.

For more information in regards to coronavirus and COVD-19, please refer to the guidelines provided by the WHO, CDC and New York’s dedicated website to the virus. If you’d like, you can also stay up-to-date with your Loving New York family while the city battles the pandemic.

Profilbild Selwyn
About the author

Being a photographer and creative in general, New York City, I think is the perfect place to be. I moved to NYC from Boston in 2013 and never looked back. Loving New York has given me the opportunity to do what I love and share those images with you all.

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