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Empire State Building sets pathway to return tourism to NYC

First building to achieve WELL Health-Safety Rating in the U.S.

The Empire State Building has made the pathway to return to NYC clear. People are eager to explore the city again and the Empire State Building’s safety protocols and WELL certification reinsures guests that they will be safe while having a fun experience. The Empire State Building’s decade-long commitment to Indoor Environmental Quality led the way with science-based measures to make the Observatory, and the entire building, as safe and healthy as possible for visitors to return. It is due to that commitment, and measurable policies and strategies to verify compliance, that on September 21, the Empire State Building was the first building to achieve the WELL Health-Safety Rating. The iconic Empire State Building Observatory safely reopened on July 20, with all of the WELL Health-Safety measures in place.

The WELL Health-Safety Rating is an evidence-based, third-party verified rating for all new and existing building and space types. The Rating recognizes the Empire State Building’s outstanding performance across five categories: cleaning and sanitization procedures; emergency preparedness programs; health service resources; air and water quality management; stakeholder engagement and communications. The WELL Health-Safety Rating certified the building for re-entry in a post COVID-19 environment.

Visitor’s safety was a top priority when completing the Observatory’s $165 million dollar renovation, Indoor Environmental Quality standards such as MERV 13 filtration, the highest possible ventilation and active air purification were incorporated. The deployment of a state-of-the-art bipolar ionization air purification system is proven to neutralize 99.92% of coronavirus.

The renovation enhanced the Indoor experience of the Empire State Building. A visit to the Building does not only include observation decks offering unmatched vistas of New York City but will immerse guests in the buildings iconic story through the exhibits on the 2nd and 80th floors. The 2nd floor exhibit depicts the site in the 1920’s with historical photography, life-like bronze sculptures and copper building models. Visitors will experience the excitement of The Empire State Building on the opening day in the 1930’s. Celebrity, Urban Campus and Kong are additional exhibits that are showcased during the visit.

With reduced capacity by more than 80%, New Yorkers and tristate area residents will have an unmatched opportunity to experience the newly redeveloped Observatory, a New York for New Yorkers experience. Only 500 guests are allowed in the Observatories’ 70,000 square foot space at any time; this is well below the 25% capacity guideline set forth by New York State and City guidelines. This policy also allows for the separation of visitor groups by more than 18 feet.

The Empire State Building Observatory reopened with new safety and guest protocols which target all the ways in which COVID-19 can spread; direct, indirect and aerosol. Since day 1, The building has required guests to social distance and wear masks.  Additional measures to protect visitors include timed ticketing, contactless temperature check, and reservations in advance at The Observatory staff have undergone extensive training on the use of Personal Protection Equipment, new cleaning and disinfection procedures, back-of-house protocol, and new service standards to ensure guests are safe while visiting the World’s Most Famous Building.

“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 protocols to prevent the transmission of the virus,” stated Observatory President Jean-Yves Ghazi. “As leaders we have posted our complete reopening program on for the public to view, both to give our guests confidence and to help guide other attractions in best practices. This WELL Health-Safety Rating confirms our continued efforts in sustainability and indoor environmental quality. The Empire State Building continues to put the safety of our visitors and employees as our top priority”.

Tatiana Rokou

Tatiana is the news coordinator for TravelDailyNews Media Network (, and Her role includes monitoring the hundreds of news sources of TravelDailyNews Media Network and skimming the most important according to our strategy.

She holds a Bachelor's degree in Communication & Mass Media from Panteion University of Political & Social Studies of Athens and she has been editor and editor-in-chief in various economic magazines and newspapers.