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

As home to some of the earliest emancipated African American communities, New York City is one of the oldest and most prominent sites of Black history and culture and now boasts the largest and perhaps most diverse Black communities of any U.S. city. Black History Month is a moment to remember, to learn and to rededicate ourselves to the simple but powerful proposition that representation matters.

At the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME), we work every day to support, promote and create public programs and industry development initiatives that advance diversity, equity and inclusion in order to ensure our creative community reflects the rich diversity of New York City. This month, our "Made in NY" Production Assistant Training Program celebrates its 15th year of creating pathways to film production for New Yorkers from every background. Our New York Music Month Extended Play expands our annual celebration of New York music to offer six months of virtual performances, panels and workshops that showcase our city’s richly diverse music community. We are proud to support events like the African Film Festival New York and New York City Public School Film Festival that offer opportunities to broaden our experience of stories and storytelling.

We are proud to congratulate our “Made in NY” productions on their nominations as awards season returns:
•    The 52nd Annual NAACP Image Awards included nominations for “The Daily Show,” “Hamilton,” “The Last O.G.,” and New Yorkers Spike Lee, Alicia Keys and Tamika D. Mallory.
•     The 78th Annual Golden Globes included nominations for “The Flight Attendant,” “Ramy,” “Hamilton,” “On the Rocks,” and New Yorkers Lin-Manuel Miranda, Cynthia Nixon, Leslie Odom Jr. and Al Pacino.
•     The 27th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards included nominations for “The Flight Attendant,” “Hamilton,” “Ramy,” “The Undoing,” and New Yorkers Leslie Odom Jr., Jurnee Smollett, Michael K. Williams and Julia Garner.
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This week, New York State expanded vaccination eligibility to restaurant workers, for-hire vehicle drivers, and Taxi and Limousine licensed drivers. Eligible New Yorkers can find vaccination locations and make appointments online at or by calling 877-VAX4NYC for assistance in multiple languages. For the latest information, please consult the City’s Vaccine Command Center and continue to check the State's website for the full list of eligible groups.

In the meantime, we must remain vigilant and keep doing what we know works: wear a mask, socially distance, avoid nonessential travel, and get tested. There is now a dashboard with a list of wait times at Health + Hospitals testing sites that is refreshed every two hours. 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 or call the New York State hotline at 888-364-3065.

In accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance, international passengers traveling to the U.S. are required to show proof of a negative COVID test or clearance from a public health official or licensed health care provider prior to boarding. Travelers arriving from outside of the U.S. are also required to quarantine for seven days after arrival. The New York State Travel Advisory continues to apply, requiring a negative COVID-19 test prior to exiting a quarantine shorter than 10 days.

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) reopened earlier this year and currently offers:

       •   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 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.

Archive recordings of the Town Calls for NYC Arts, Entertainment, Hospitality and Nightlife businesses and workers presented by MOME and the Office of Nightlife about the latest federal loans and other assistance programs are also available here:

       •    Town Call for Businesses held on 1/21
       •    Town Call for Workers held on 1/22

Earlier this week, the City released a full list of the streets that have been designated for artistic and cultural events under the Open Culture Program. Eligible entities include members of the Cultural Institutions Group, organizations that are eligible for a grant from the Department of Cultural Affairs’ Cultural Development Fund, individuals who received funding from a borough arts council within the past two years, and NYC entertainment facilities intended or designed to be used for a performance in front of a live audience. Applications will open on March 1 and the program will run through October 31, 2021. Guidelines are forthcoming and we will alert you when they are available.

The U.S. Small Business Administration released an FAQ for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grants (formerly known as Save Our Stages). The Grant Program, which passed as part of the third stimulus package, 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.

We are highlighting two questions in the SBA’s FAQ:
•     Immediately prepare for the application: The application section on page 5 explains how applicants should begin preparing immediately: Register for a DUNS number and then register in the federal government’s SAM at It can take two weeks to get a SAM registration, so start the process now. The SBA also says, “Gather documents that demonstrate your number of employees and monthly revenues so you can calculate the average number of qualifying employees you had over the prior 12 months. Lastly, determine the extent of gross earned revenue loss you experienced between 2019 and 2020. This and additional information such as floor plans, contract copies and other evidence will be needed to apply for an SVOG.”

 •     Question re: fixed seating: The SBA confirmed that only movie theaters and museums must have fixed seating and the fixed seating requirement does not apply to other venues. Multi-use performance venues, music venues, comedy clubs, black box theaters, and similar venues may apply so long as they have a “defined performance and audience space.”
The SBA will be refreshing the FAQ as new information becomes available and additional program details are finalized. When the application is available, we will alert you. Please sign up to receive updates and information about help from our colleagues at the NYC Department of Small Business Services on the form here.


Commissioner’s Directive 11 is posted on the Film Permit website. The Directive, which was issued on December 23, 2020, updated 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.

Last week, Governor Cuomo announced that indoor dining in New York City can reopen at 25 percent capacity on Valentine's Day, assuming New York State's COVID-19 infection rate stays on its current trajectory. The reopening will be subject to strict state guidance, which can be found here.

NYC Restaurant Week To Go continues through February 28. Each restaurant is offering at least one special $20.21 takeout or delivery meal for lunch and/or dinner. Tax, delivery fees and gratuity are additional to the meal price. Diners can search participating eateries at, where they will then be redirected to the restaurant’s preferred delivery or takeout options. We encourage you to support local restaurants that need our support now more than ever.
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

Stay safe and NYC strong,

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