Frequently Asked Questions About The Reopening Of Albany NY During COVID-19 Pandemic
Wondering what businesses and attractions are open now? Trying to get a sense of what the rest of the summer will look like? The FAQs below cover these topics, as well as others people have been asking, and each question has been answered to the best of our ability. As things continue to change, we'll keep this page as up-to-date and accurate as possible.
Will the travel advisory / quarantine on out-of-state guests to New York impact my visit?
A travel advisory has been implemented in New York State. Travelers from any state or territory currently hit hard by COVID-19, as determined by an infection rate formula, must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
This presently applies to travelers from Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Guam, and Puerto Rico. You can read more about the travel advisory here.
Is Albany welcoming out-of-state guests?
Yes. People from out-of-state can visit Albany, as long as those from restricted states are abiding by the travel advisory and quarantine requirements mentioned above. Hotels are already open for guests, but prospective visitors should be prepared for enhanced health and safety protocols, which will make this visit to Albany different than previous ones.
Many outdoor activities can be enjoyed, but many of the area's larger attractions, arts and cultural centers, and museums are either closed or plan to reopen at a later date. Restaurants and bars are limited to 50% indoor and outdoor capacity, and many have chosen to stick to outdoor dining and/or takeout/delivery only. All large events that were originally scheduled to take place in the near future have been canceled or postponed.
If you choose to visit Albany, it is imperative that you adhere to all social distancing guidelines in order to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Where do I have to wear a mask?
You have to wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth if you are in an indoor public closed environment, when asked to by a business, or when you cannot keep a proper social distance of six feet from people who aren't part of your household, even if outdoors. You should always have your mask available in case you are not able to social distance.
Additionally, businesses - including restaurants and pubs - must enforce facial covering and social distancing policies, and local law enforcement is prepared to help as needed. Be sure to pay attention to any signage or queue guidelines a business has posted, and please be respectful if a business owner or employee asks you to put your mask on.
Why do I have to wear a mask? I am healthy and am not worried about contracting COVID-19
You have to wear a mask as part of New York State's collective effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. Even if you are not showing any symptoms of the virus, it is still possible that you could carry it with you (especially if you're traveling from other areas of the state or region) and unknowingly transmit it to more vulnerable populations. When you follow the rules and wear your mask, not only are you helping to stop the spread, but you're also improving the likelihood that the Albany area will be back to a "new normal" sooner rather than later.
Are hotels and other accommodations open?
For the most part, hotels in and around Albany are open with new safety and cleaning procedures in place. If there's a particular hotel you're wondering about, you'll want to contact them directly to learn more about their status and protocols.
Is Albany International Airport open?
Albany International Airport is open, but its normally robust flight schedule has been trimmed down in accordance with the current demand for flights. There are safety procedures in place throughout the airport including mask requirements, social distancing guidelines, and daily deep cleaning/disinfecting.
Hotels near the airport are also open and welcoming guests.
Is the Albany-Rensselaer Amtrak train station open?
The Amtrak station is open, but Amtrak has adjusted its train services to match the significantly decreased demand for train travel as a result of the pandemic. You can find the most up-to-date schedule on Amtrak's website.
Are restaurants open for outdoor dining?
Capital Region restaurants are able to open for outdoor dining. Restaurants must follow certain requirements that include: tables must be spaced at least six feet apart; all staff must wear face coverings; and all customers must wear face coverings when not seated.
Click here to see restaurants in and around Albany that have patios. Please note, though, that restaurants on this list may or may not be ready for customers and some are requiring reservations. Your best bet is to call ahead before arriving at a restaurant.
Are restaurants open for indoor dining?
Capital Region restaurants are able to open for indoor dining, but they must limit their tables to 50% of their normal capacity. Mask requirements and sanitization protocols also must be in place.
Some restaurants are requiring reservations, while others are not taking them. If there's a particular restaurant you're hoping to visit, you'll want to contact them directly or check their website/Facebook page to learn more about their individual policy.
What Albany area restaurants are offering takeout and/or delivery?
We have an extensive list of restaurants in Albany, Schenectady, Troy, and surrounding areas that are open for takeout and/or delivery. You can see it here »
What trails are open in the Albany area?
Parks, nature preserves, and trails are open throughout Albany and the Capital Region. New York State Parks maintains an updated list of trail closures and other notices on its website, so you'll want to check that before heading out.
Is Rivers Casino & Resort Open?
Rivers Casino & Resort re-opened on September 9. Daily hours of operation are 8:00am - 2:00am. The gaming floor capacity will be limited to 25% occupancy until further notice. Some features of the property, including Valet Parking, the Poker Room, the Event Center, Mian, and Johnny's To-Go, have not re-opened yet.
Will major events be taking place as planned?
Currently, large events are still restricted in the Capital Region. We are keeping our events calendar as up-to-date as possible as events of all sizes are rescheduled or canceled. We recommend that you direct any event-related questions to the organizers of the specific event(s) so you can get more information on their rescheduling plans or ticket refund policies.
Some of the large events and event series that we already know are canceled include Alive at Five, Rockin' on the River, Harbor Jam, and the "Summer at the Plaza" slate of events.
Are farmers markets open?
Some local farmers markets have opened for the season with new safety protocols and social distancing guidelines in place. A few such markets include the Troy Waterfront Farmers Market, Schenectady Greenmarket, the Delmar Farmers Market, and the Empire State Plaza Farmers Market.
What is open that is fun to do in the Albany area right now?
The following activities/attractions are available:
- Hiking and walking
- Parks (with social distancing guidelines), including Washington Park
- Golf courses, including mini-golf (contact specific courses for more information)
- Scenic Cruises
- Non-motorized boat rentals (including rowboats, kayaks, and canoes)
- Bowling alleys are allowed to open (with capacity restrictions and other protocols in place) as of August 17
We recommend that you bring a camera with you while you're doing any of the above activities. It's a beautiful time of year!
What will be open when?
The Albany area is part of New York State's "Capital Region" for the purposes of Governor Cuomo's reopening plan. As of July 1, the Capital Region is now in Phase 4 of the four-phase plan. To learn more about which industries are included in each of the four phases, visit the official website here. We've also detailed some of the activities and attractions that will be available in each phase in the four FAQs below.
The ability for a region to enter a new phase of reopening is dependent on a number of virus-related health metrics, so it is impossible at this point to give an exact date when certain industries will be able to reopen. A minimum of two weeks is required between each phase to give experts enough time to monitor how the virus's spread has been impacted by industries opening.
What opened when the Capital Region was in Phase 1?
In addition to boating, biking, hiking and golfing that opened prior to Phase 1, some of the activities and attractions that became available include:
- Fishing (and going out with fishing guides)
- Hunting (where permitted and in-season)
- Boat Rentals (both non-motorized and motorized)
- Horseback riding
- Tennis and pickleball
- Retail shopping (which was limited to curbside or in-store pickup and drop off only in Phase 1)
What opened when the Capital Region was in Phase 2?
Some of the activities and attractions that became available when the Capital Region has was in Phase 2 include:
- Retail shopping (for "safe shopping" where shoppers must still wear a mask and follow social distancing guidelines)
- Hair salons and barber shops
- Restaurants (for outdoor dining)
What opened when the Capital Region was in Phase 3?
What is open now that the Capital Region has entered Phase 4?
Some of the activities and attractions that will be available once the Capital Region enters Phase 4 include:
- Low-risk outdoor arts and entertainment
- Low-risk indoor arts and entertainment
- Higher education
- Professional sports competitions with no fans