Health and Safety During COVID-19

The health and safety of visitors and staff is a top priority. A number of changes have been made to ticketing and operating procedures to promote physical distancing and reduced contact, based on guidance from public health authorities such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and appropriate government agencies.

If you are visiting from outside of New York State, please check the New York State COVID-19 Travel Advisory. You are required to follow the guidelines for out-of-state travelers.

Advance Ticket Reservations

  • All tickets—including Member tickets, complimentary tickets, and pre-paid pass tickets—must be reserved online in advance of your visit.
  • Tickets are timed-entry to limit capacity. Time slots available from 10 am to 4 pm, now through June 30, 2021.
  • Visitors who wish to see the the Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals are required to join a virtual line. Once you arrive at the Museum, signs will provide instruction. Spots in the virtual line are first-come, first-served and may fill up.

See Plan Your Visit for more information. 

Five icons illustrate COVID-19 health and safety practices—timed entry, masks, hand-washing, distancing, and pathway navigation.

What We’re Doing to Help Keep You Safe

  • Using timed-entry ticketing to limit attendance to promote physical distancing
  • Disinfecting and cleaning to meet CDC guidelines
  • Adding plexiglass barriers at ticket counters
  • Upgrading ventilation systems
  • Marking paths and adding markers to promote physical distancing
  • Limiting elevator and restroom capacity to maintain physical distancing
  • Turning off or cordoning off interactive displays and other touchable exhibit elements
  • Providing hand sanitizer stations throughout the building
  • Self-screening, including temperature checks for staff
  • Wearing facial coverings at all times

Health and Safety Requirements for Visitors:

  • Avoid visiting if you have symptoms of COVID-19, have been diagnosed with COVID-19 within the past 14 days, or have been in close contact (within 6 feet for 10 minutes or more) with someone infected with or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 within the past 14 days.
  • Wear a facial covering throughout the visit (for all visitors ages 2 and up), remain together with your party, and children under age 12 must remain with adults at all times. No neck gaiters, open-chin triangle bandannas, or face coverings with valves, mesh, or holes.
  • Maintain physical distancing of 6 feet (2m) with others outside your group.
  • Use hand sanitizer, which will be available at stations throughout the building.
  • Follow directions from staff and signage for physical distancing, reducing contact, and other guidelines for use of facilities.
  • Follow the Museum’s Code of Conduct.
  • Visitors who require an accommodation for any of these items must contact [email protected] before your visit to discuss your needs.

Temporarily Unavailable

To promote physical distancing and reduced contact, the following are temporarily unavailable:

Services and Amenities

  • Coat check service
  • Drinking fountains
  • Food Court and cafes*
  • Planetarium Shop and Dino Store (but main Museum Shop and special exhibition shops will be open)

*No eating is permitted in Museum galleries. Because dining onsite is currently unavailable, visitors may leave and return using the same ticket on the same day.

Halls and Exhibits

  • Some touchable and touchscreen exhibits
  • Discovery Room
  • Public educational laboratories
  • The lower level of the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life is temporarily unavailable because it is serving as a New York City COVID-19 vaccination site. The Blue Whale can still be viewed from the upper level, which remains open to visitors.

COVID-19 Safety in Museum Classes

 In addition to establishing health and safety protocols for visitors in exhibition galleries (e.g. temperature checks, enhanced cleaning, mask-wearing, physical distancing, limited capacity), the Museum has modified onsite classes to provide a safe learning environment for children, youth, and families. 

  • Classroom capacities: Each classroom has been analyzed to determine the safest capacity, and this number has been posted outside each space.
  • Air quality in the classrooms: Each classroom has been analyzed to ensure optimal air quality and purification. Classrooms have also been outfitted with air purifiers.
  • Enhanced sanitation: All objects and surfaces used in class have been sanitized before use and can only be used by individuals or families. 
  • Hand-washing: All class participants are required to wash or sanitize their hands prior to class commencing. Hand-washing or sanitizing is also available and encouraged during class. 
  • Quarantine recommendations and class closures or postponements: The Museum frequently reviews CDC, New York State, and New York City guidelines to determine when quarantines should be recommended to participants or when classes should be postponed due to potential exposures. Participants must disclose to Museum staff when they test positive or if they have been exposed to COVID-19. 

Exposure to COVID-19

An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death. Although the Museum has taken enhanced health and safety measures, it cannot guarantee that you or members of your group will not be exposed to COVID-19 while at the Museum. 

The cooperation and participation of our visitors in following health and safety protocols and requirements is essential to better ensure that all within the Museum remain healthy and safe. Your adherence and the adherence of anyone in your group (including children) to the Museum’s Code of Conduct is mandatory, and noncompliance may result in removal from the Museum.

By visiting the Museum, you voluntarily assume all risks for yourself and minors in your custody and understand that you may be exposed to or infected by COVID-19 by entering the Museum. 

The Museum has taken the Stay Well NYC pledge.