Travel Responsibly: In an effort to limit the impact of COVID-19, mask-wearing and social distancing are required in all public spaces per official guidelines. Advance tickets or reservations are highly recommended or necessary at many spots. Your best bet: Plan ahead.

Led by New York State, Syracuse and Onondaga County as a whole are following existing mitigation efforts to limit the impact of COVID-19.

That means, with visitor health and safety still a top priority, residents and visitors can still safely enjoy things to do in the Greater Syracuse area with new guidelines and measures in place.

Visit Syracuse is united with public health agencies, government and elected officials, industry colleagues and you — the Greater Syracuse community and our visitors — to support visitors, residents and employees throughout Syracuse and Onondaga County.

Read on for more information about health and safety and how to visit Syracuse and Onondaga County now.

Note: This page was last updated on January 14, 2021.


How to Navigate Visiting Now

New York State has varying degrees of guidelines and restrictions throughout the region for gatherings, entertainment and travel. The state is using a Cluster Zone approach so the Zone for each zip code will determine the opening of attractions, dining, gathering and at times all non-essential businesses.

The portions of Onondaga County that were under Orange Zone restrictions have now moved into the Yellow Zone. While much of the county still does remain under Yellow Zone restrictions these allow for more restaurant operating capabilities for the formerly Orange Zone locations.

Yellow Zone guidelines still include: 

  • Both indoor and outdoor dining is permitted with a 4 person maximum per table. Bars and restaurants much still close on 10pm for on-premises consumption. Take-out and curbside pick-up is still allowed after 10pm. 
  • Gyms, fitness centers, salons, personal care services and barber shops are open. 

  Read more about the different Zone designations’ rules and guidelines.

Additional guidelines are in place in statewide including:

  • Restaurants, bars and State Liquor Authority-licensed establishments must close in-person service from 10pm to 5am. Take-out and curbside pick-up after 10pm is still allowed with the exception of alcohol sales.
  • Indoor and outdoor gatherings at private residences limited to 10 people
  • Gyms required to close daily at 10pm.
  • New travel guidelines are in effect that allow out-of-state travelers to “test out” of the mandatory 14-day quarantine.

Your best bet: Plan ahead before visiting to see what experiences to expect.

Below, check out our tips on how to navigate visiting the Syracuse region.

Kids wearing face masks on a Hayride

Guidelines & Masks

Do I need to quarantine if I’m visiting from out of state? Visitors to New York State from another state must quarantine for 14-days. However, visitors may “test-out” of the 14-day quarantine if they follow the newest guidelines. Travelers must have a negative COVID-19 test three days of departure, prior to arrival. The traveler then must, upon arrival in New York, quarantine for three days. On day four of quarantine, the traveler must obtain another COVID test. If both tests come back negative, the traveler may exit quarantine early upon receipt of the second negative diagnostic test. Read more here.

Do I need to plan ahead? Yes! For the best experience, planning your excursion ahead of time is key. Each business and destination will have slightly different guidelines.

What do the Yellow, Orange and Red zones mean and how does this apply to Syracuse and the surrounding areas? The Yellow Zone is a precautionary zone with restrictions including 50% capacity at houses of worship and restaurant and bar seating limited to no more than four people per group. Orange Zone is a warning zone and lowers the houses of worship capacity to 33%, restaurants and bars may only provide outdoor service, takeout or delivery and seating may not exceed four people per group and certain high risk non-essential businesses must close including gyms, hair salons and personal care services. The Red Zone is the highest level with restrictions including no non-essential gatherings of any size, houses of worship are limited to 25% capacity or 10 people and restaurants and bars may be open for takeout or delivery only. Read more on the zone guidelines here.

Is mask-wearing mandatory? Yes, mask-wearing is mandatory throughout the state for all indoor public spaces as well as outdoor public spaces where six feet of social distancing isn’t possible. At restaurants, diners may remove masks while seated at a table with their family for eating and drinking.

How many people can get together socially? New York State has limited indoor and outdoor gatherings at private residences to no more than 10 people.


Staying Over

What is it like staying in a Syracuse area hotel right now? Hotels in the region are accepting guests now that they’ve made numerous safety adjustments to ensure visitors feel and stay safe. Many hotels are offering deals now, too, so check with individual properties to see what’s of the moment.


Dining Out

What’s it like to dine out in Syracuse and Onondaga County now? As of November 2020, all bars and restaurants must close by 10pm. Bars and restaurants within the City of Syracuse and the rest of the Orange Zone have shut down indoor dining and are restricted to outdoor dining, takeout and delivery only.  Those restaurants located in the Yellow Zone are still open for both indoor and outdoor dining with limits per table of no more than four people and 50% capacity. Parts of the county still outside the cluster zones are open for both indoor or outdoor with table limits of 10 people. Open indoor and outdoor dining have enacted precautions to keep everyone safe. For in-person dining try to make reservations ahead of time wherever possible.

Do I need a reservation to dine at a Syracuse area restaurant? Reservations are definitely recommended to ensure the dining experience you’re seeking will be available, especially when planning to dine indoors. Check with each individual location for their policies and procedures.

Can I just get a drink at a bar or restaurant? Not yet. Alcohol orders must be accompanied by a food purchase at all bars and restaurants regardless or indoor or outdoor dining. To-go alcoholic beverages are still available until 10pm.

How many people can sit at a table together? Guidelines vary depending on the cluster zone restrictions. No more than four people per table are allowed for outdoor dining within the Orange Zone, while no more than four people per table are allowed for both outdoor or indoor dining within the Yellow Zone. Pockets of Onondaga County that are located outside of these cluster zones allow for up to 10 people per table.

What time is last call? All bars and restaurants in New York State must close by 10pm. Curbside pick-up and takeout of alcoholic beverages also must stop by 10pm.

Waitress wearing mask and speaking to customers at Bull & Bear in Fayetteville, NY


Visiting Museums, Attractions, Shops & More

What is it like to visit a Syracuse museum or attraction now? Museums and attractions in the region are open with capacity limits and, very often, timed ticketing. The upside? Museum-going is now an intimate, VIP-like experience with fewer visitors crowding halls and no more than 10 people (including staff) present in any single exhibit room at one time.

Are retail shops and shopping malls open? Yes, indoor malls and retailers are open with social distancing and often capacity limits.

Are casinos, live theaters and movie theaters open in Onondaga County? Some. Live theaters are still closed in New York State. Casinos are open with capacity limits as well as additional restrictions and safety guidelines. Some movie theaters have reopened with strict guidelines and capacity rules.  


Getting Around

What’s riding public transportation like now? CENTRO bus service  throughout the region follows state guidelines in requiring all patrons and employees to wear masks while using the service. Social distancing guidelines are also in place as well as other health and safety guidelines. In addition, Amtrak train service and Greyhound bus service operating at the William F. Walsh Regional Transportation Center also require face coverings while on board. Amtrak is limiting bookings on certain service lines to follow social distancing as well as offering enhanced cleaning and cashless travel. Greyhound has also increased cleaning, is asking patrons to socially distance and is offering their Peace of Mind travel policy. 

Are taxis and rideshares available? Yes, taxis and rideshare services (Uber, Lyft) are open in the region with key safety guidelines in place, including required mask wearing. Planning ahead to schedule a taxi or rideshare car is highly recommended since drivers and services may be limited right now.

Remember, planning ahead will always be your best bet to ensure a great experience.


More COVID-19 Resources

The Onondaga County Department recommends these best practices to support our community and prevent the spread of the virus.

Those flying into Syracuse Hancock International Airport and nearby regional airports should check the latest alerts from the federal government:

Centers for Disease Control Travel Advisory

Federal Aviation Administration Travel Advisory