COVID-19: Returning to Work

New York City entered Phase Four of reopening on Monday, July 20.

This phase includes the reopening of low-risk outdoor activities like botanical gardens and zoos with capacity restrictions, movie and television production, and professional sports without audiences. Museums and cultural attractions were allowed to reopen, with restrictions, as of August 24. Restaurants will be allowed to begin offering indoor service, at 25 percent capacity, as of September 30; there will be a review no later than November 1 to determine whether that capacity can increase to 50 percent. The Mayor has also announced that the current outdoor dining program will be made permanent, meaning restaurants will be able to take advantage of closed streets and sidewalk space where available to keep outdoor dining going year-round. Additional attractions, venues and indoor activities will reopen at a to-be-determined later date.

Phase Four Guidelines can be found here.

Guidance for the city's Open Restaurants program here. The Open Restaurants application process began June 19.


Not sure if you're allowed to, or even should, re-open? 

Use the business lookup tool from New York State to confirm if you are allowed to re-open.

Visit the CDC Workplace Decision Tool to help you decide if you even should re-open. 


Before businesses can reopen, they must:   

  • Develop a safety plan and post it at their work site. 
  • Read New York State (NYS) guidelines and affirm compliance. The State requires that you affirm that you have reviewed and understand the State-issued industry guidelines and that you will implement them. Businesses can fill out the affirmation form here  


You can read more about guidelines, access safety plan templates, and affirm business compliance here. 

And available in 11 languages here.


For more details on business closure zones, small business grant programs, reopening guidelines, and other resources, click here.


The Dept of Small Business Services has launched a number of resources to help businesses prepare to reopen and begin operating safely and legally. Visit for current guidance and resources.

  • Business Reopening Hotline – Business owners and employers can now call 888-SBS-4NYC (727-4692) to ask questions or find assistance
  • Webinars – Sign up for webinars to help you navigate each phase of reopening. These webinars will review State guidelines and best practices for reopening across sectors, assistance available for small businesses impacted by COVID-19, and more.
  • Free Face Coverings – Find free non-medical PPE for you and your employees from a distribution partner located near you. You should contact partner organizations in advance, as most organizations have varying hours for pick-up.
  • NYC Business Solutions Centers are available to provide consultations for small businesses in need of financing assistance and support connecting to lenders and financing products. You can contact an account manager here.