Background image of Brooklyn Bridge. Text reads the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment, Supporting New York City's Creative Economy
Dear Friends, 

Earlier this week, the world witnessed a horrifying assault on our democracy. While it will certainly take some time to process what we experienced as a nation, I remain hopeful that our democratic institutions will prevail. Congress demonstrated that resilience in certifying the election in the wake of the chaos. And I have seen it in actions big and small on the part of individuals working to advance the American promise of a just and democratic society as we continue to meet the challenges of the ongoing pandemic and economic crisis.

Over the last year, the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) has had the privilege of working with colleagues in government in common cause with all of you to support New York City’s creative community. Together, we managed a safe return of TV and film production; connected our small businesses and workers in arts, entertainment and nightlife to resources and support through a series of Town Calls; facilitated opportunities for live performances by local talent online and throughout the five boroughs through programs like Virtual NYC: Curator Collections, Music for the Soul, and Off Broadway in the Boros: Pop Ups; provided education and training opportunities for 7,500 New Yorkers; launched MEND NYC, a free mediation program for our restaurants, bars and nightlife establishments; broadcast a steady stream of information and the latest updates on City programs and services on NYC Media; and partnered with local agencies to coordinate the broadcast presentations of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and New Year’s Eve in Times Square to continue the City’s time-honored holiday traditions. For a complete review, please visit: MOME's 2020 Highlights.

Our work together continues in 2021. We are proud to launch two major programs this month to celebrate New York City’s creative industries:
•    JanArtsNYC celebrates the performing arts in partnership with eight independent festivals, that typically bring together more than 45,000 performing arts leaders, artists, and enthusiasts from across the globe. The 8th annual edition is entirely online, adapting to the pandemic while bringing artists, industry professionals and the public together to reach an even larger, more diverse, global audience. The rich offering of festival performances, conferences and networking events takes place now through January 30 and features a vast array of new work (much of it tailored for the pandemic age) and critical conversations on the future of the performing arts.

•     New York Music Month Extended Play expands New York Music Month to six months of programming, launching this Monday, January 11. In response to the pandemic, which has brought almost all live performance to a standstill, New York Music Month EP will feature 40-plus events, all safe, virtual and free, with something for everyone from artists and industry to audiences. Please keep watch on MOME’s social channels for the announcement of the full lineup on Monday.
City government continues to do everything we can to ensure New York City makes a strong recovery. Mayor de Blasio announced the biggest vaccination campaign in New York City's history, with an ambitious goal of providing one million vaccine doses by the end of January and a commitment to ensuring that all New Yorkers have safe, free, and easy access to COVID-19 vaccines. While there remains a limited supply of the vaccines, New York State is establishing phases for distribution based on federal guidance, and the City’s Vaccine Command Center is working closely with our state and federal counterparts to ensure equitable distribution here in New York City. Information about who is currently eligible, where to get the vaccine, and more about the phased distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in NYC is available here.

In the meantime, we must remain vigilant. With rising cases and hospitalizations, we need to keep doing what we know works: wear a mask, socially distance, avoid nonessential travel, and get tested. Finding a test without a long wait is easier with this list of wait times at Health + Hospitals testing sites that will be refreshed every two hours. In addition, the NYC Office of Mayor’s Counsel has updated plain language guidance on state travel restrictions. State COVID zone restrictions remain in effect in certain parts of the city. To find out where the zones are, and to see what restrictions apply to each zone, please visit For more information, visit the New York State website at or call the New York State hotline at 888-364-3065.


The third federal stimulus package passed on December 28 significantly revised the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The program will bring an additional $284 billion to non-profits and small businesses, including bars and restaurants that may not be eligible for “Save Our Stages” grants. (More on “Save Our Stages” below.) Smaller businesses that did not receive a PPP loan the first time around can begin to apply on Monday, January 11. Those that did receive one of the original loans can apply for a second PPP loan beginning on Wednesday, January 13, provided they meet eligibility requirements. For complete requirements see Title III of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 and the SBA’s interim final rule. SBA has also issued the following summary guidelines:

       •   First-draw borrowers
       •   Second-draw borrowers

The NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) is offering free webinars to provide guidance for businesses interested in applying for PPP loans. Schedule and registration info is available here.
SBS continues to offer three loan programs for small businesses in low-to-moderate income neighborhoods. For more information on these programs please visit: small business supports. In addition The NYC Small Business Resource Network offers free, personalized, one-on-one assistance to help small businesses navigate a range of challenges involving technology, real estate, legal and finance, new regulations, and more. Business owners can sign up for this service through the Chamber of Commerce in their borough.

SBS also announced three new mentorship programs, which will provide industry experts as guides for current and aspiring entrepreneurs seeking to start and grow a business in a post-COVID era:
•   Small Business Mentors NYC is a mentorship program for existing storefront business owners in underrepresented communities seeking to grow their businesses. The program, introduced by the Mayor’s Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity, will provide these businesses with specialized guidance and professional networks.

•   M/WBE Mentors is the first peer mentorship program for NYC’s certified Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs). The program will help M/WBEs to further build their professional networks and expand their access to resources and contracting opportunities.

•   BE NYC Mentors is New York City's inaugural business mentorship program for Black entrepreneurs in the pre-startup and early stages of operating their business. The program aims to increase the number of new Black-owned businesses in high-growth industries, with a programmatic focus on pre-startup and newly formed businesses.
The commercial eviction/foreclosure moratorium is now extended through January 31, 2021.

Empire State Development (ESD) today announced the Raising the NYS Bar Restaurant Recovery Fund which offers approximately $3 million in reimbursement grants for up to $5,000 to eligible businesses. The program is intended to support full-service restaurants – the industry hit hardest by the pandemic – during the winter months when outdoor dining is limited and as restaurants adjust to New York State’s COVID-19 safety restrictions and new mandates. The Raising the NYS Bar Restaurant Recovery Fund is a partnership between New York State, Diageo Wine & Spirits, Southern Glazer Wines & Spirits and The National Development Council (NDC). Grant funding will be managed by The National Development Council (NDC).

During this time when indoor dining is halted in New York City, NYC & Company has announced a special winter iteration of their signature NYC Restaurant Week® program, NYC Restaurant Week To Go, to support local restaurants offering takeout and delivery. All eateries across the five boroughs are invited to participate in this weeklong program, free of charge, that will take place January 25–31, with an optional extension February 1–7. We’re encouraging submissions from a broad spectrum of eateries—from fine dining to casual—that can provide a value-oriented lunch and/or dinner entrée with at least one side for the price of $20.21 to commemorate the new year. Further details on program specifics as well as the submission form can be found here. Registration closes this Monday, January 11.

While the State prohibition on indoor dining at food establishments continues, outdoor dining, take out, and delivery are still allowed. The State Liquor Authority’s Guidance on Closing of Indoor Dining in New York City explains the state’s restrictions on SLA-licensed establishments, and additional guidance for SLA licensees is available here. Guidance for winter operations of Open Restaurants is posted on the DOT website. Participants may submit questions to DOT at or call the SBS hotline at (888) SBS-4NYC. The Office of Nightlife also has made a suite of operational guidance materials and public informational posters and graphics available for download at

MEND NYC is a program offered by the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings' Center for Creative Conflict Resolution in partnership with the Office of Nightlife to provide free mediation and conflict resolution services to address a number of neighborhood disputes while ensuring that small businesses thrive. MEND NYC helps address issues that may include:

        •  Quality-of-life issues between residents and businesses
        •  Negotiation between commercial tenants and landlords
        •  Neighboring business to business misunderstandings

The Save Our Stages Act passed as part of the third stimulus package. It includes $15 billion for grants of up to $10 million to qualified live venue operators and promoters, performing arts organizations, theatrical producers, talent representatives, movie theater operators, and non-profit museums that have auditoriums. To be eligible, all applicants must:

        •   have been “fully operational” on February 29, 2020
        •   be able to show at least 25% revenue loss in a quarter of 2020 compared to the same quarter of 2019, and
        •   be operating or intending to resume operations in the future.

For complete requirements see Section 324 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. The National Independent Venue Association also has posted a helpful plain language FAQ.

The law requires the U.S. Small Business Administration to issue program guidelines by February 10, 2021. At that time, MOME will host an informational Town Call for New York City applicants; details to follow in the coming weeks.


Commissioner’s Directive 11 is posted on the Film Permit website. The Directive updates NYC production guidance to align with the State’s latest COVID zone restrictions, which allows media production to continue in Orange and Yellow Zones. It also extends cast and crew limits on exterior filming on public property through February 28, 2021. To assist productions with promoting safety protocols on set, the Film Office has produced a suite of graphics and posters available for download here.

Please be sure to check frequently for updates and review the guidelines and FAQ before submitting permit applications. If you have questions after reading these guidance documents, please call the Film Office at (212) 489-6710. Please keep in mind that the Film Office is still operating remotely so please allow additional time for Film Permit processing.

MOME continues to support and participate in a wide variety of events by and for our fellow New Yorkers in the creative economy.
•    The 3rd Annual New York City Public School Film Festival presented by MOME and the NYC Department of Education is now open for submissions, through March 16. Films must be five minutes or less in length and made by students. A panel of educators and media professionals will select films to be included in the festival and will be screened virtually on May 6. Following the May 6 virtual screening, student filmmakers will be invited to virtual discussions with industry professionals.

•   Cinematters: New York Social Justice Film Festival will run January 14-18, 2021 and presents impactful films that engage the community toward a more democratic, inclusive, and just society. The festival explores themes of inequality, injustice, and social responsibility through films, special events, and conversations. In the spirit of Dr. King’s legacy, the festival aims to inspire participants to reflect and take action in order to create a community of civic-minded individuals eager to make a collective change.
For the latest updates, sign up for MOME’s newsletter, follow our social media channels on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, or visit our website at

As always, please feel free to reach out with any questions, concerns or for support.

Stay safe and NYC strong,

Anne del Castillo
Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment
Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment