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 in his 2021 State of the State address, Governor Cuomo highlighted New York City as a capital of creativity and outlined his agenda for bringing back arts and entertainment. The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) looks forward to continuing to work with our colleagues in government to advance the state’s plan and build on the work we have done to boost our creative sectors through initiatives like Off-Broadway in the Boros: Pop Ups, Music for the Soul and our "Made in NY" training programs.  

NYC's Vaccine for All Campaign is well underway. Right now, while there is limited supply of the vaccine, distribution is being phased based on risk categories established by the federal and state guidance. This week, the Governor announced that individuals aged 65 and older and certain frontline workers eligible to get the vaccine. Please continue to check the State's website for the full list of eligible groups.

Because the supply of vaccine is very limited and will fluctuate daily, appointments will be given based on availability. Additional sites are coming online every day, and we encourage all to check the website regularly or call the City's hotline. Eligible New Yorkers can find vaccination locations and make appointments online at or by calling 877-VAX4NYC for assistance in multiple languages.

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.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a new policy that will require all international passengers traveling to the U.S. to show proof of a negative COVID test prior to boarding beginning January 26. The NYC Office of Mayor’s Counsel has provided 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 U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) reopened on Monday. SBA is currently offering:

       •   First Draw PPP Loans for first time program participants, and
       •   Second Draw PPP Loans for certain businesses who have previously received a PPP loan.

To promote access for smaller lenders and their customers, SBA is currently only accepting loan applications from participating community financial institutions (CFIs). To connect New York City’s small business owners to federal relief funds, the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) has launched Fair Share NYC, offering free webinars, technical assistance and access to lenders to help businesses interested in applying for PPP loans. For more information, visit or call 888-SBS-4NYC.

Next Thursday, January 21, MOME and the Office of Nightlife will present a Town Call for NYC Arts, Entertainment and Hospitality operators and businesses. Representative from SBA-New York and SBS will provide the latest information about PPP loans and other assistance programs. Owners and operators of small theatres, live performance and music venues, dance clubs, comedy clubs, and bars and restaurants are encouraged to register at:

The Raising the NYS Bar Restaurant Recovery Fund offers approximately $3 million in reimbursement grants for up to $5,000 to eligible businesses. The Empire State Development program is intended to support full-service restaurants 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).

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.

The law requires the U.S. Small Business Administration to issue program guidelines by February 10, 2021. We will continue to update as we learn more. Until then, the National Independent Venue Association has posted a helpful plain language FAQ.


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.
We are delighted to announce that starting this month we will be resuming our regular monthly newsletter devoted to the work MOME is doing to promote, support and enhance our city’s creative economy. I will continue to send out this Commissioner letter, but with a tighter focus on important news and resources for our creative community.
MOME continues to support and participate in a wide variety of events by and for our fellow New Yorkers in the creative economy.
•   "Off Broadway in the Boros: Pop-Ups" will have their broadcast television debut on Friday, January 15 at 8pm. The series of five performances, 20 minutes each in length, will run each Friday through April 23, 2021 on NYC Life, the premiere channel of the City of New York's broadcast network NYC Media.  

•    New York Music Month Extended Play kicked off Monday and expands New York Music Month to six months of programming. New York Music Month EP features 40-plus events, all safe, virtual and free, with something for everyone from artists and industry to audiences.

•   Cinematters: New York Social Justice Film Festival takes place MLK weekend, 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

This weekend marks 35 years since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day was declared a federal holiday to honor his birthday and celebrate his legacy in the civil rights movement. The ongoing pandemic and national reckoning have reignited a collective sense of urgency to actively support, promote and create meaningful systemic change. Our collective work continues with greater determination and commitment to advance Dr. King’s dream of a more equitable and just society.

Stay safe and NYC strong,

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