ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The entire Empire State Plaza Complex is set to reopening to the public on Friday. That’s according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who announced that free tours of the Capitol would return as of Monday.
Seventy percent of all New Yorkers over 18 have received at least a first dose of COVID vaccine, representing the minimum threshold health experts have aligned with herd immunity. With pandemic restrictions lifted statewide this week in response, Cuomo says it also means that free tours of the plaza can return, and online registration is now open.
“New Yorkers have worked hard against the COVID virus and as a result, landmarks and attractions across the state are reopening to visitors. We are thrilled to welcome New Yorkers and guests from afar back to our beautiful State Capitol and the amazing Empire State Plaza,” Cuomo said in a written statement. “The Capitol is filled with extraordinary history anyone can appreciate. While it was necessary to close its doors during the pandemic, it is time to welcome people back to its grand halls.”
For all indoor tours, unvaccinated people still have to wear masks, following the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Free Capitol tours will be running Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to noon, starting at the Information Desk in the Capitol’s State Street lobby. Online reservations aren’t required, but officials recommend them anyway. Groups with more than 10 people should call (518) 474-2418 to make arrangements.
The 45-minute tours take in the legislative chambers, the Hall of Governors, the Governor’s Reception Room, the Hall of New York, and historic art and architecture like staircases and carvings.
“The New York State Capitol and Empire State Plaza are magnificent architectural gems, and we are proud to once again offer the public an opportunity to spend some time exploring and learning about these grand, historic sites,” said RoAnn Destito, Commissioner of the Office of General Services. “Our knowledgeable and lively tour guides are ready and eager to introduce visitors to the wonderful things New York’s capital city has to offer.”
Outdoor tours of the Empire State Plaza will also be starting up again, but not until mid-week. They’re held on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays starting at 2 p.m. outside the main entrance to the Egg. Space is limited to 25 people per tour, and reservations are required online or by phone by calling (518) 474-2418.