There is positive news for those hoping to visit New York City as it plans to fully reopen on 1 July. This is 16 months after it closed down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Citing strong vaccination numbers in the city, Mayor Bill de Blasio told MSNBC’s Morning Joe show that the plan is to open stores, business, offices and theaters "full strength" on that date. Governor Andrew Cuomo has also revealed that seating in bars will be permitted again from 3 May, while the 12am food and beverage service curfew will be lifted for outdoor dining areas from 17 May and indoor dining areas beginning 31 May.

Bow bridge in Central Park in New York City on a sunny day,
New York City plans to fully reopen on 1 July © S.Borisov/Shutterstock

The city’s official destination and marketing organization, New York City & Company, revealed that it is reemerging with new outdoor dining spaces, chic new hotels and revamped transportation services. A major push towards reopening has come in the form of a $30 million marketing campaign investment announced by de Blasio. The ‘NYC Reawakens’ initiative aims to show that New York City is a "fairer, better and more vibrant city than ever before."

There are new plans and initiatives with issues like sustainability, diversity and spreading the wealth throughout all five boroughs, and an emphasis on taking the lessons learned from the shutdown and implementing them in new ways. One plan involves expanding outdoor dining into a full-fledged outdoor cafe scene like the ones often found on the streets of Paris or Milan.

When visitors arrive, they will see a slew of changes made to the New York City transportation system, including the newly-opened Moynihan Train Hall in the former Farley Post Office building on 8th Avenue - its newest transportation hub. Another big change is the redesign of Terminal B at LaGuardia Airport in Queens, which features 35 new gates and almost 50 shops and restaurants. Newark Liberty Airport is also close to wrapping up recent renovations, and the NYC Ferry is adding new routes and additional stops to existing routes, which will expand service into all five boroughs.

As one of the world's greatest centers for arts and culture, New York City has slowly begun reopening its famous attractions, including the Museum of Natural History, Guggenheim art gallery and Bronx Zoo.

Broadway traffic and neon signs shine during dusk in New York City
Broadway may take a bit longer to come back © Fresh photos from all over the world /Getty Images

The hotel sector was devastated during the pandemic, but is slowly coming back to life with 116 new hotels under development this year. This includes a new Ritz-Carlton in the NoMad neighborhood of Manhattan and a Margaritaville Resort in Times Square. According to de Blasio, Broadway may take a bit longer to come back. "It takes time because they have to mount full productions,” he said. “I’d say you should expect Broadway full strength in September, but I’d love to see some of the smaller shows up in July and August.”

Overall, the mayor and those involved in the city's tourism sector are hopeful that the city will rebound over the next few months, and safely welcome visitors to its bustling streets, exciting dining scene and all those bright lights once again.

This article was first published on 22 April and updated on 30 April 2021

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This article was first published Apr 22, 2021 and updated Apr 30, 2021.

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