As we enter the holiday season, people will be shopping for presents for their loved ones. Rather than spending money online, we hope you will take this opportunity to shop small and support your local businesses in-person. While it has been a long year, the threat of COVID-19 is still present, but there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of catching the virus or infecting others. Etiquette has changed and there are many things we all must consider before leaving our homes. To make things a little bit easier, here are just a few ways that you can be a good customer to the various businesses in New York City.

The first and most important step is to stay home if you are sick or experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19. This rule of thumb should also go for anyone who may have been exposed to the virus in recent days or anyone at higher risk of infection. This is the best way to protect yourself and others and slow the spread of the virus.  


  • Wear a face mask or covering at all times when not eating or drinking. Yes, even when you’re sitting at your table. Face coverings are one of the best methods to prevent transmission of the virus and wearing one is a sign of respect to the restaurant staff and your fellow diners.  
  • Make a reservation. Many restaurants are operating at reduced capacity to comply with social distancing measures and may require diners to reserve a table ahead of time. Reserving a table also cuts down on your wait time and limits your risk of potential exposure. Call the restaurant or check their website before heading out to see if they take reservations. 
  • Don’t run your server – try to order everything at once to limit the amount of trips your server needs to make between the kitchen and your table order your drink, appetizers and entrees together. Your server will thank you. 
  • Keep your distance from those outside of your party. Stay at your table throughout the night and if you have to get up to use the bathroom or put in an order, make sure to leave six feet of distance between yourself, staff and your fellow diners. 
  • Wash your hands! Hand hygiene is another important step towards slowing the spread of COVID-19. Be sure to wash your hands for twenty seconds before and after your meal.  
  • Don’t linger. With restaurants operating at limited capacity, there are only so many tables available for patrons. Be courteous and don’t stay at your table longer than necessary. 
  • Tip generously. Restaurant workers are taking on a significant risk to serve you during these times. Show your appreciation by tipping more than you normally would. 

Retail Shops

  • Shop online if you can. Online shopping allows you to support local businesses without risking exposure to the virus or putting workers at risk. Many shops are also now offering in-store pick up of online orders if you need an item on short notice. Check with your favorite Village businesses to see if they are offering online shopping options. 
  • Wear a face covering or mask in the store. Most shops now require patrons to wear a face covering in order to enter the store so make sure you have one handy before you head out. 
  • Keep your distance from other customers and staff members inside the store. In addition to wearing a face covering, maintaining a social distance of at least six feet is one of the best ways to protect yourself and others from virus transmission. If there are too many people inside the store when you arrive, wait outside before entering. 
  • Wash your hands before and after your visit. 
  • Bring wipes to sanitize shopping carts, baskets, and other high-touch areas before using. While shops are doing their best to keep their stores clean and safe for customers, not every surface can be fully sanitized between uses. A quick wipe can help protect you from germs on shared items like shopping carts. 
  • Do not linger. Many shops are now limiting the amount of people who can be inside the shop at a time. Be courteous and don’t spend more time than you need to inside the store. 

Personal Care Services 

  • Many salons are operating by appointment only. Call your provider or check their website to learn more about their policies and book a slot. 
  • Wear a face mask or face covering inside at all times. As you will be in close contact with your provider for an extended amount of time, face coverings can help protect both of you from the virus. Also note that services that require the removal of face coverings like facials have been restricted for the time being. 
  • Come to your appointment alone. Most salons will not allow you to bring a family member or friend along if they are not also receiving a service. 
  • Check with the salon to see if they have any further policies in place for customers. Some salons and spas may require further virus prevention measures from clients. Learn more about your salon’s policies before booking your appointment. 
  • Tip generously. Need we say more? 

The NoHo BID would like to thank our partners at the Village Alliance, Hudson Square BID, Meatpacking BID, and Greenwich Village Chelse Chamber of Commerce for putting this list together.