NEW YORK — New York City streets are expected to, once again, be bustling with international visitors as the United States opens its borders to vaccinated visitors beginning on Monday, Nov. 8.
“When we first opened, the neighborhood felt strangely quiet,” Joe Allen restaurant manager Kevin Albert said.
The famous Hell’s Kitchen restaurant is back to serving the pre-theater crowd, but is looking forward to the return of international tourists. “When everyone is back, there is an energy to it that you can’t deny,” Albert said.
New York City has reopened slowly, and the tourism industry sees this as a major step.
According to New York City and Company’s Chris Heywood, “It’s going to be a pivotal milestone in our economic and tourism recovery for New York City.”
That’s because these tourists not only bring energy to the city, but their wallets.
“This is the segment of visitors that tends to stay longer and spend more,” Heywood said.
That spending power looks appealing to struggling restaurants and hotels.
“To have people coming back from Europe and around the globe to eat at our restaurants and drink at our bars is tremendous,” New York City Hospitality Alliance Executive Director Andrew Rigie said.
The Hotel Association of New York City said approximately 100 of its hotels remained closed, but President and CEO Vijay Dandapani said with the combination of international travel returning and the upcoming holiday season, he is optimistic.
“The city is ready for business in terms of hotels. We have staff, we have the protocols, we have safety,” Dandapani said.
According to officials, travelers will need to show proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test before they arrive. Once they are in New York, visitors will need to follow the same COVID-19 safety protocols as New Yorkers. That means showing vaccination cards at restaurants and indoor venues.