Meets pressing community needs by mobilizing caring New Yorkers in volunteer service.

Safety Requirements for Volunteers

These safety instructions are being implemented on all New York Cares projects as part of our response to COVID-19.

As the city’s lead organization designated by New York City Emergency Management to mobilize volunteers in cases of citywide emergencies, we are in regular communication with city agencies on how our volunteers can make the most direct and meaningful impact at this time while taking necessary precautions. 

We are committed to harnessing the passions of caring New Yorkers in a way that supports their safety and the safety of the people we serve. Due to the essential and immediate needs of our programs, New York Cares has not canceled all programming at this time, unless a partner has chosen to do so.

The health and safety of our volunteers, Team Leaders, and the people we serve remains our top priority. We are working with our Community Partners to ensure that city guidance is followed to slow the spread of COVID-19 and are requiring the following:

  • Have accessible hand washing stations and/or hand sanitizer easily available
  • Instruct volunteers to wash their hands upon entering your building
  • Post visible displays of preventive measures (e.g. flyers, signage)
  • Ensure that bathrooms and shared spaces are deep-cleaned and disinfected as per the General Disinfection Guidance for Commercial or Residential Buildings
  • Limit convening in populated areas, such as, waiting rooms, lobbies, etc.


All directives and recommendations pertaining to COVID-19 issued by NYC Health or other relevant City agencies must be followed such as allowing for 6 feet of distance between people. New York Cares volunteers serve in a critical capacity by providing food and other essential services to economically disadvantaged New Yorkers. According to Executive Order 202.6, food service and other immediate needs are deemed essential business and are therefore exempt from the order.

In partnership with the city's Volunteer Coordination Task Force, we are actively enforcing the following safety requirements on our projects:

If any of the following conditions apply to you, stay home and DO NOT SIGN UP to volunteer:

  • You are sick
  • You are over 50 years old or have chronic health conditions, including chronic lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, cancer or a weakened immune system


If you must stay home for the safety of our community, we may have remote/digital volunteer opportunities soon that you may sign-up for.

While volunteering on a project during the COVID-19 outbreak we require the following:

  • Wash your hands often, including at the start and end of your volunteer opportunity. Use soap and water and scrub for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when sneezing or coughing. Do not use your hands.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Do not shake hands.
  • Monitor your health more closely than usual for cold or flu symptoms.
  • Do not gather in large groups.
  • Keep at least six feet between you and others.


We continue to be awed by the volunteers, Team Leaders and staff for their ongoing efforts to keep their fellow New Yorkers healthy, whether that’s by staying home if feeling unwell or uncomfortable, or volunteering while following the guidance from NYC Health. Thank you for your service.

Downloadable PDF

If you are looking to print these instructions, you can find the PDF here.