Realty Bites

Is it ok for my roommate to have a small party in our NYC apartment right now?

By Austin Havens-Bowen  |
July 7, 2020 - 1:00PM

If you or your roommate want to host a party right now, there’s a few things to consider first, including if your building is allowing guests.


My roommate wants to host a birthday party now that gatherings of 25 are permitted in New York City, but I don’t feel comfortable having guests over yet. Is it really ok to have a group of people in a small apartment right now?

Gatherings of 25 people are included in NYC’s Phase 3 of reopening, so technically you and your roommate can have a small party in your apartment. But, just because you can, doesn’t mean that you should, and if you do, there are certain precautions you should take.

Under Governor Andrew Cuomo’s reopening plan, gatherings are only permitted with social distancing and face mask compliance so your party might look a bit different in the Covid era. The Department of Health says that you should also properly clean and disinfect the area where you are hosting your gathering, among other precautions.

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You should create a pandemic “social bubble” and limit your social gatherings to those few close friends or family members, in order to prevent the spread or exposure to others, according to DOH. If you, or anyone you live with, is high risk for contracting Covid-19, like those who are 65 or older or have underlying health conditions, you should avoid hanging out with others for now.

Covid-19 is more likely to spread if you’re hanging out with a group indoors, according to DOH, so if you do want to get together with friends, now is a good time to be outside. 

The risk of transmitting the virus outside is very slim. Being outdoors gives you more room to social distance, fresh air to dilute any virus, and fewer surfaces for the virus to live on. If you do opt for an outdoor hangout, bring more than just your own beverages—bring your own food, chairs, and picnic blankets to help maintain social distancing. 

Make sure your building is allowing guests first

Before you invite your friends or family to hang out in your apartment, make sure that building management is allowing guests. Many buildings, especially co-op and condos with more restrictive boards, have put in place strict guidelines preventing guests, or even deliverymen, from entering buildings right now.

Daniel Bekteshi, an associate broker at Maxwell-Kates, a property management group that oversees more than 130 buildings in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and New Jersey, says that gatherings in buildings city-wide are still being discouraged. “I believe most of the city is still being cautious at the time, but housekeepers returning is becoming a normalized trend.”

And when it comes to outdoor spaces, “The roof deck amenity in most buildings is for residents only with proper social distancing requirements,” he says.

Buildings that are allowing guests are doing so with precautions. Dawn Carpenter, a certified property manager and broker at Dawning Real Estate in Staten Island says that their buildings have allowed residents to have guests during the pandemic, but everyone who enters the building must wear a face mask. 

So, the bottom line is, be smart about your pandemic reunion party, check your roommate’s comfort level, and make sure your building is permitting guests beforehand.



Austin Havens-Bowen

Staff Writer

Staff writer Austin Havens-Bowen covers the rental market and answers renters' questions in a column called Realty Bites. He previously reported on local news for the Queens Ledger and The Hunts Point Express in the Bronx. He graduated from Hunter College with a BA in media studies. He rents a one-bedroom apartment in Astoria with his boyfriend and their two cats.

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