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Empire State Building Observatory Reopens

Empire State Building Observatory
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The Empire State Building (ESB) announced the recall of its employees for training in the new protocols and processes required as the final step to prepare for the reopening of its world-famous Observatory.

Scheduled to reopen on July 20, 2020, under New York State’s Phase 4 guidelines, the Empire State Building Observatory will welcome visitors with new protocols.

“We will reopen the universally-recognized symbol of New York City to the world, our brand new $165 million Observatory experience, and so state that New York is resilient and that our future holds promise,” said Anthony E. Malkin, Chairman, President, and CEO of Empire State Realty Trust. “Our decade’s long commitment to Indoor Environmental Quality is accompanied by new protocols and employee training which comply with government requirements.  Visits will initially be limited to below New York State’s Phase 4 capacity guidelines, and we will prevent crowds through a shift to timed, online reservations only. The reduced capacity and lack of tourists from out of town will create a unique ‘New York for New Yorkers’ experience.”

For the first few weeks, hours of operation will be reduced to 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Initial capacity will be reduced by more than 80% to only 500 guests in the Observatories’ 70,000 square foot space at a time, and well below the 25% capacity guideline set forth in Phase 4.  This policy will allow for the separation of groups by more than 18 feet.  The $165 million redevelopment of the Observatories that was concluded in December 2019 created a separate entrance dedicated to Observatory visitors.

Empire State Realty Trust’s (ESRT) portfolio-wide Indoor Environmental Quality standards were incorporated as part of the Observatories redevelopment.  Air quality related components at the Observatory include MERV 13 air filters, AtmosAir air purification, and constant ventilation through the introduction of fresh air to, and the exhaust interior air from, the Observatories.  These are the standards in all of ESRT’s new office installations.

Guest protocols will include a contactless temperature check (must have a temperature of less than 100.4 degrees) and the requirement to wear a facial covering throughout their visit.  Certain interactive exhibits will run on automatic and binocular viewers, which require close eye contact by visitors, will be closed.  At the time of reopening, all Hosts, Cleaning, and Security personnel will be trained in additional customer service, use of PPE, new cleaning procedures, tracing, and back-of-house protocols.

“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,” stated Observatory President Jean-Yves Ghazi.  “As leaders, we have posted our complete reopening program for the public to view, both to give our guests confidence and to help guide other attractions in best practices.”

“With such a reduced capacity, everyone will have an unmatched opportunity to enjoy the Observatory Experience – truly New York for New Yorkers.  More than 100 employees, who bring life and authenticity to the Building, will return to work,” said Ernie Blundell, Observatory EVP.

No one building has connected more with the world during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Empire State Building cemented itself as a beacon of hope and inspiration through its ‘Pandemic Siren’ and ‘Heartbeat of New York’ lightings, the international #HeroesShineBright campaign honoring First Responders, and the music-to-light shows with Alicia Keys, The Beatles, and Billy Joel, which generated more than 33.2 billion media impressions in four major markets measured worldwide. The unprecedented July 4th Macy’s Fireworks finale at the Empire State Building was the prelude to its reopening and showcased the enduring Icon of New York City.

For more information on the guidelines, how to purchase tickets, and updated operating hours, please visit esbnyc.com.

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