New York COVID Requirements for Businesses

Right now, it's tough owning or running a business in New York. Between COVID shutdowns and increased government regulations, there are many challenges. Many business owners are finding it hard to keep up with all of the necessary changes.

We aren't a New York-based business, but we understand how you feel and would like to help. In this blog, you'll get a rundown of the opening requirements for New York businesses, as well as some helpful resources that can help keep your business up to date. Keep in mind, state guidance changes frequently, so keep an eye out here for most current updates. 


The first thing you need to be aware of is that New York's COVID guidance differs depending on different zones. On December 10, 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced new metrics for zones. There are three zones, red, orange, and yellow. An explanation for why a region might be red, orange, or yellow is listed below. 

New York COVID requirements for businesses

  • Red Zone: A red zone will be implemented when a region, after the cancellation of elective procedures and a 50 percent increase in hospital capacity, is 21 days away from reaching 90 percent hospital capacity on the current seven-day growth rate.
  • Orange Zone: A geographic area will be eligible for an Orange Zone if it has a four percent positivity rate (seven-day average) over the last ten days and it is located in a region that has reached 85 percent hospital capacity. Alternatively, a geographic area may also become an Orange Zone if the State Department of Health determines the region's rate of hospital admissions is unacceptably high, and a zone designation is appropriate to control the rate of growth.
  • Yellow Zone: A geographic area will be eligible to enter a Yellow Zone if it has a three percent positivity rate (seven-day average) over the past ten days and is in the top ten percent in the state for hospital admissions per capita over the past week and is experiencing week-over-week growth in daily admissions.

To find your zone, click here. For an up-to-date rundown of zone metrics or restrictions per zone, click here

Guidance By Industry

Depending on your industry and zone color, your business will have different restrictions and guidance. Find out the guidance for your industry below.


In red zones, nonessential retail businesses remain closed in New York. In orange zones, retail businesses are allowed to operate at a limited capacity. In yellow zones, retail businesses are open with no restrictions other than statewide guidelines such as the facial covering mandate. However, all malls in New York remain closed. If you operate a business in a mall without an external door, you can offer pickup near the mall entrance. For the most current information on New York's guidance for retail businesses, click here

Masks are required statewide in New York

Restaurants & Bars

In red zones, restaurants are only open for takeout and delivery; no dining on location is allowed. In orange zones, outdoor dining is allowed in addition to takeout and delivery. There is a four-person party limit per table. At 11 pm, bars and restaurants must close for on-premise dining. For yellow zones, indoor and outdoor dining is permitted, along with takeout and delivery. There is a maximum of four people to a table and the bar or restaurant must close to on-premise consumption at 11 pm. For the most current guidance on restaurants and bars in New York, click here

Takeout at a New York restaurant

Personal Care Services (Salons, Tattoo Parlors, Barbershops, etc.)

In red zones, personal care services remain closed. In orange zones, personal care services are open, but employees who perform services must get COVID tested on a weekly basis. In yellow zones, personal care services are open. For the most current guidance regarding personal care service businesses in New York, click here

Gyms & Fitness

In red zones, gyms and fitness-related businesses are closed. In orange zones, gyms and fitness facilities are open at 25% capacity. Fitness classes are also open at 25% capacity. In yellow zones, gyms and fitness facilities are open. For the most current guidance on gyms and fitness businesses, click here


In red zones, schools are allowed to open. However, 30% of in-person students and faculty must be tested on a monthly basis. The testing should be evenly spread out throughout the month, meaning 15% are tested biweekly. In orange and yellow zones, schools are allowed to open with 20% in-person students and staff requiring testing on a monthly basis. Depending on the results of the monthly testing, schools may be closed if they hit certain metrics.

Mask required sign for a school

For in-person learning, students and staff are required to wear face coverings. The school must also provide the opportunity to be tested on school grounds or otherwise accept testing results from healthcare providers. For the most current information regarding guidance for schools in New York, click here.

Tools for Re-Opening your Business

Now that you know the updated requirements for New York businesses, it's time to take steps to help keep a safe environment. We can help! During the pandemic, we began creating PPE and safety tools to assist our customers.

Whether you need face shieldscontactless payment solutionssocial distancing signage, or more, we have you covered. Click here to browse our selection of PPE and safety supplies. We want to help keep your business safe! Please reach out to us; we're ready to help.

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