The Empire State Building will soon be ready to welcome guests once again.
In pre-coronavirus days, the famed building in Midtown Manhattan was one of the most popular travel destinations in the nation. But, like so many places, it too had to shutter its doors to guests in the name of health and safety. But, on Monday, it began the recall process to employees to train them all on new protocols in an effort to reopen on July 20, 2020.
“We will reopen the universally-recognized symbol of New York City to the world and our brand new $165 million Observatory experience,” Anthony E. Malkin, chairman, president, and CEO of Empire State Realty Trust, said in a statement. He added that by reopening the building it will show “that New York is resilient and that our future holds promise.”
Malkin explained visits will initially be limited to below New York State’s Phase 4 capacity guidelines to ensure proper social distancing. The building will also require online reservations. But, this he noted, may present New Yorkers the unique chance to visit the building before tourists flood back to the city.
“The reduced capacity and lack of tourists from out of town will create a unique ‘New York for New Yorkers’ experience,” he said.
According to the trust, hours of operation will be reduced to 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. for the first few weeks following the opening. Initial capacity will also be reduced by more than 80 percent to only 500 guests in the Observatories’ 70,000 square foot space at a time. This, the group explained, will allow for the separation of groups by more than 18 feet.
And, as part of the Observatory’s redevelopment, the trust implemented its portfolio-wide Indoor Environmental Quality standards, which include MERV 13 air filters, AtmosAir air purification, and constant ventilation through the introduction of fresh air.
Beyond improving the environmental standards, the trust is ensuring everyone’s safety with mandatory temperature checks for guests, requiring face coverings for guests and employees, and by closing all binocular viewers, which require close eye contact by visitors. It is also requiring all employees to go through extensive safety training.
“Our work has been thorough with new training guidelines and customer service standards. We have taken measures with signage, distancing markers, hand sanitizers, and cleaning; beyond anything any retailer or public space we have surveyed,” Observatory President Jean-Yves Ghazi said in a statement. Ghazi added, all guests can learn more about the new protocols and training on their website.