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What families can and cannot do in New York City right now

All your questions answered.


Check back often, as we will be updating this page regularly.

New York City will enter Phase 3 of reopening on Monday, July 6. However, since this is a constantly-changing environment, families aren't always sure what is and is not acceptable. We've rounded up common Q's from NYC parents and responses from the professionals. Read on for more information and stay safe!

Can I hire a babysitter? 

If you go out, the New York City Department of Health suggests that you seek care from a reliable family member or friend who is not sick. Parents should not leave their children with older adults and people who suffer from underlying health issues, as they are the ones who are most at risk of getting sick. 

Learn more about keeping your children safe here

Can I take my children to the doctor? 

The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages parents to stick to the standard schedule of wellness visits, vaccinations and other preventative care set by their pediatrician. When possible, a virtual visit should be held remotely. The APA encourages you to consult with your pediatrician for the appropriate action. 

Learn more on the AAP's website

Can I take my child to the dentist? 

Dental offices in New York State reopened on June 1. They are required to follow newly-issued state guidelines. Read more about the rules here

Learn more by visiting the New York State Dental Association website

Can I take my child for a haircut?

Hair salons and barber shops in New York reopened during Phase 2, and they have state-issued guidelines to follow. If you're looking to do an at-home trip, check out the tips and tricks from NYC's best kiddie salons. 

Can I take my family to the park? 

Many New York City Parks remain open, but many facilities within those parks are closed until further notice. The shuttered facilities include:

  • Recreation Centers (memberships will be extended to to cover the closing) 
  • Barbecuing and grilling areas
  • Basketball, handball and tennis courts; bocce courts and volleyball courts
  • Dog runs
  • All City nature centers and historic houses
  • The Swedish Cottage and the Arsenal Gallery in Central Park
  • Horse stables are operational, but closed to the public
  • High Line, Roger Morris Park, Dyckman Farmhouse Park, Queens Farm Park and Fort Totten Park

Restrooms remain open and are being cleaned on a daily basis according to the Parks Department

On May 8, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced new rules for NYC parks that experienced overcrowding. Hudson River Park Piers 45 and 46 will limit capacity and increase NYPD presence. Domino Park in Brooklyn is being closely watched as well. 

Can I go to farmers markets? 

Farmers markets remain open, but you must practice social distancing when shopping.

Read about the rules and regulations on Time Out New York

Can my family visit a playground? 

Playgrounds in NYC have reopened

Can I take my family out to eat?

New York City restaurants are open for outdoor dining. On July 1, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Cuomo said that NYC will not allow indoor dining during its Phase 3 reopening. 

Can I take my family camping?

The answer is yes, depending on where you want to go and when you want camp. 

In New York State, private campgrounds are open. Reservations are required to camp in NY State parks—no walk-ups. And the Department of Environmental Conservation allows backcountry camping on public lands for groups of 10 or fewer.

The rules are different in neighboring states such as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Remember that regulations can change overnight: Always be sure to call ahead before heading out.

Learn more about camping in New York and neighboring states here. 

Will my children go back to school this year? 

Students in New York State will not return to school this academic year, and remote learning will continue. A plan is still being devised for the 2020-2021 academic year, which could be a mix of remote learning and in-school learning. Chancellor Richard Carranza is currently taking all options into consideration. Families should expect an update on the fall by July at the earliest. 

Will my children be able to graduate? 

The New York City Department of Education outlines graduation requirements on its website. In New York State, students can earn one of three diplomas: a Regents diploma, an advanced Regents diploma and a local diploma. According to the NYC DOE: "To earn a diploma, students must earn specific course credits and pass specific Regents exams."

Parents are asked to get in touch with guidance counselors if they feel as though their child won’t be able to meet the requirements. NYC public school high school seniors celebrated a virtual, city-wide graduation ceremony on June 30. 

Learn more about grading systems for underclassmen here

Will my children be able to attend summer school? 

Following city, state and federal guidelines, NYC schools will conduct summer school virtually this year. Parents will be notified in June if their children are required or recommended to attend.

Learn more about the schedule and regulations here

Can my children attend camp this summer? 

Day camp in New York State will resume on June 29. Overnight camps in New York will not run this year. Check out our updates on NYC's most popular programs and learn about virtual offerings

Can I take my family to the beach this summer? 

NYC beaches are open for swimming as of July 1. Visitors are asked to limit the time spent on the beach. 

Learn more about what you can and cannot do on NYC beaches at Time Out New York.

Can I go to the amusement park this summer? 

New York City amusement parks, including Luna Park and Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, have postponed their opening days, which were originally scheduled for early April. Both attractions have yet to announce a decision about the 2020 season, but they plan to operate in accordance with city, state and federal regulations. Amusement parks are part of the fourth and final phase of New York's reopening plans. 

Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey will require reservations before guests can visit the park once it reopens. A digital scheduling system will be put in place. 

Learn about updates and safety procedures at kids' amusement parks in the tristate area here

Can I go to the movies this summer?

Patrick Corcoran, the vice president of the National Association of Theatre Owners, hopes to have most cinemas in the United States open by late June or early July. However, there are no set dates for New York. 

“It will depend on the course of the pandemic and when public health official give the go-ahead on the reopening phases,"Corcoran said.

Currently, entertainment businesses are in the fourth and final phase of the state's reopening plan. In the meantime, check out the coolest drive-in theaters in and near NYC.

Learn more about theaters—and what they might look like in the future—at Time Out New York

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