Coronavirus. One word that is pretty much inescapable these days. Everywhere you glance – your tv, your phone, newspaper stands, emails– it is front and center as the headline more and more with each passing day. And with good reason – the World Health Organization has officially proclaimed it to be a pandemic.
We here at New York City Vacation Packages (NYCVP) are in the business of sending thousands of visitors to NYC each year. As travel advisors however, you send people to destinations all over the world. So, when you come to us – you are coming to us as the experts in all things New York City. That includes monitoring the practices the City is implementing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We want to make certain that we can give you peace of mind that you in turn can pass on to your clients. That being said – you can be rest assured that we have been keeping a watchful eye specifically on the Big Apple during this worldwide crisis.
So, what exactly is New York City doing to make it safe for the millions that live and visit there? Simply put – a lot. We have received updates from museums, hotels, attractions, tours, the MTA, Broadway and more – all addressing what steps they are taking to prevent the spread. Below is a very condensed sampling of the precautions being taken – as quoted from the sources (that were received either via emails or taken straight from their official website):
Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA): “The safety of the public and our employees is a top priority for us. Measures we’re taking: Continuing our enhanced sanitizing procedures across the system. Trains, stations, and buses are normally cleaned every day and disinfected as needed. Now, we’re disinfecting stations and high-touch surfaces—like turnstiles, ticket machines, and handrails—twice a day. Our cleaners are working to disinfect trains, cars, and buses every day, with the entire active service fleet being covered every 72 hours. And Access-A-Ride vehicles are disinfected every day. We’re using CDC-endorsed cleaning products.”
Broadway League: “(New York, NY) – March 12, 2020 – Under the direction of Governor Andrew Cuomo, Broadway shows in New York City will suspend all performances immediately in support of the health and well-being of the theatre going public, as well as those who work in the theatre industry. Performances will commence the week of April 13, 2020.”
Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum: “The Museum is following and will continue to follow all CDC and NYC Department of Health recommendations and guidelines. We have instituted even more vigilant cleaning practices and have increased the number of hand sanitizing stations throughout the Museum.”
Marriott International: “We take standards for hygiene and cleanliness very seriously and are taking additional steps to ensure the safety of our guests and associates. On a daily basis, our hotels around the world are working to ensure that they meet the latest guidance on hygiene and cleaning. Our hotels’ health and safety measures are designed to address a broad spectrum of viruses, including COVID-19, and include everything from handwashing hygiene and cleaning product specifications to guest room and common area cleaning procedures.”
Hyatt Corporation: “The precautionary and response measures are helping us continue to provide a safe and clean environment:
- Comprehensive COVID-19 guidance is in place at Hyatt hotels globally, detailing how to protect against transmission of the virus (including implementing hand sanitizer stations and frequent cleaning of high-touch areas), and procedures in case there is a suspected or confirmed case among our guests or colleagues
- Cross-functional, global response teams, including infectious diseases and occupational health experts, provide guidance to our hotels and help address specific needs and situations when needed”
Hilton Worldwide: “We take great pride in maintaining the highest standards of cleanliness and hygiene. In response to the coronavirus, we have taken additional measures developed in consultation with global and local public health authorities (including the WHO and CDC) to make our cleaning and hygiene protocols even more rigorous:
- Our hotel teams are receiving ongoing briefings and enhanced operating protocols.
- We have increased the frequency of cleaning our public areas (including lobbies, elevators, door handles, public bathrooms, etc.) and have continued the use of hospital-grade disinfectant.
- We will continue to adjust food and beverage service in accordance with current food safety recommendations.
- We have increased the deployment of antibacterial hand sanitizers.
- We have activated our regional and global response teams to provide around-the-clock assistance to our hotels and are prepared to act swiftly should we be alerted to a case of coronavirus at one of our properties.”
New York Historical Tours: “All of our tours are private tours and we are taking extra precautions further limiting group size, avoiding crowds and following the guidelines as directed by official experts and local authorities. “
Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island via the National Park Service: “Visitors can be assured that facilities in national parks, including lodges and restaurants, continue to monitor conditions and maintain high standards related to the health and wellness of staff and visitors. Park and concession staff are working to maintain clean and healthy facilities in parks in accordance with CDC guidance.”
The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met): “The Metropolitan Museum of Art will temporarily close all three locations—The Met Fifth Avenue, The Met Breuer, and The Met Cloisters—starting tomorrow, March 13, to support New York City’s effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. The Museum will undertake a thorough cleaning and plans to announce next steps early next week.”
On your end – if your clients are still a bit leery – you can always suggest some alternatives to situations where they will be grouped together with larger crowds – often in enclosed spaces. For example – instead of booking them on a shared shuttle from the airport – book them private transfers where they will have a vehicle just for those in their party. Instead of booking a public motorcoach tour – suggest they try a private tour complete with their very own tour guide for a more intimate setting. Even small group walking tours where they limit the number of participants is a great alternative.
New York City has been faced with many challenges over the decades that have impacted tourism. With each new challenged faced – they have always come back – bigger and better. We see no reason to expect any differently with the latest crisis. Our partners are all on the same page – to prevent the spread of Coronavirus and eventually stop the outbreaks.
New York City Vacation Packages has been a trusted NYC travel information authority since 1983 and is the only major independent tour company in the United States devoted exclusively to NYC travel. NYCVP offers services to make sure your custom New York City vacation is safe and secure, and is a member in good standing of NYC & Company (New York City’s marketing and tourism organization), the National Tour Association, Better Business Bureau and the American Society of Travel Agents Tour Operator Program.