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

This week marks the end of the Lunar New Year celebration, which is traditionally one of the largest celebrations in Asian communities around the world. But this year’s celebrations were tempered by the latest reports on alarming rates of anti-Asian racism in the wake of the pandemic. Over the last year, Asians and Asian Americans have been subjected to increased incidents of discrimination, harassment, and violence, and yet so many have been on the frontlines as first responders, caretakers, doctors and nurses. As the daughter of a nurse who immigrated from the Philippines, this is especially painful for me.

"I Still Believe in Our City" is a public awareness campaign by multidisciplinary artist Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya, developed in collaboration with the NYC Commission on Human Rights with support from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs. The campaign is both a celebration of Asian and Pacific Islander communities’ contributions to our city and a demand to stop anti-Asian racism and violence. We encourage all New Yorkers to report bias crimes and learn about ways to help, to send the right messages, and encourage victims to come forward by visiting or by calling 212-416-0197.


The State issued new guidelines for reopening in New York City:
•    Indoor dining capacity may increase to 35% beginning on Friday, February 26.
•    Movie theaters may reopen at 25% capacity with no more than 50 people per screen beginning on March 5.
•    Billiard/pool halls may reopen at 35% capacity beginning on March 5.
•    In-person and catered events may resume at the lesser of 50% capacity or 150 people per event beginning on March 15. This week, the NYS Department of Health amended the Interim Guidance for Food Services During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency to include guidelines for in-person and catered events, starting on page 7.
Additional guidance is available on the NY Forward website.

Open Culture applications open on Monday, March 1 at 12pm. The new program, which will run through October 31, allows ticketed, socially distanced, outdoor performances at nearly 200 street locations throughout the five boroughs. Earlier this week, the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) hosted a Town Call with the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) and the Mayor’s Office of Citywide Event Coordination and Management (CECM) to review program guidelines and respond to questions. For more information on the program, visit A video of the event is available here.

Also this week, MOME hosted a Town Call on Health Coverage for Media and Entertainment Professionals. Marielle Kress, Executive Director of NYC Care at NYC Health + Hospitals, and Renata Marinaro, National Director of Health Services at The Actors Fund, discussed health coverage options for New Yorkers working in entertainment.  A video of the event is available here.

Archive recordings of earlier 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 available here:

The U.S. Small Business Administration issued an update on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): In order to reach the smallest businesses, SBA will offer PPP loans to businesses with fewer than 20 employees and sole proprietors only now through Wednesday, March 10. As a reminder, the program 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.

On Friday, February 26, 2021, from 1:00 to 2:30, the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts is providing a free webinar entitled: Paycheck Protection Program Round 2: Practical Guidance for Self-Employed, Nonprofit and Microbusiness Borrowers. More information is available here.


For information about who is currently eligible and where to get the vaccine, please visit the NYC Vaccine Command Center website.  Eligible New Yorkers can find vaccination sites and make an appointment online at or by calling 877-VAX-4NYC (1-877-829-4692).

People who are eligible based on their employment must attest that their job requires them to have in-person contact with members of the public or with co-workers, or that they are unable to work remotely. They must also have proof of employment in New York, such as:

       •    Employee ID card
       •    Recent pay stub (depending on specific priority status)
       •    Proof of work via an application (e.g., Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, etc.)
       •    Signed letter from employer or affiliated organization.

Please note: These documents will not be used as legal proof of employment status, and they will not be collected. Their only purpose is to confirm eligibility for vaccination. Visit here for information about proof of eligibility.

As new COVID-19 variants arise, it is important that we remain vigilant and keep doing what we know works: wear a mask, socially distance, avoid nonessential travel, and get tested. You can find testing locations near you and check a list of wait times here.

This week the Health Department issued updated guidance on face coverings, one of the most critical tools to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The guidance recommends people over the age of two-years-old wear snug fitting masks with two or three layers of material to better prevent unfiltered air from passing through. Alternatively, New Yorkers may wear two masks, with a cloth face covering over a disposable mask.

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.

Curtains Up NYC continues to offer free webinars three times per week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) to review the guidelines and application process for the federal Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG), also known as Save Our Stages. Trained counselors are also available for virtual, one-on-one sessions. A program partnership of MOME and NYC Department of Small Business Services, Curtains Up NYC provides free technical assistance to live-performance venues, businesses, and non-profit organizations applying for federal assistance to help them put forward the strongest application, and, importantly, be first in line as soon as the grant applications go live. Information is available on the Curtains Up NYC webpage or 888-SBS-4NYC. In addition, the federal government posted a training video on SAM registration. SAM registration is necessary to apply for the federal grant, and processing can take two weeks—so don’t wait.

In addition, our colleagues at DCLA are working with the Americans for the Arts to conduct a new survey of NYC’s cultural community: COVID-19 Impact on NYC Culture. While the survey is national in reach, there are questions for New York City specifically. This survey builds on one conducted last year, which captured the impact of the earliest days of the pandemic on NYC’s arts and cultural organizations. DCLA wants to follow up on key findings from their report on last year’s survey and to dig deeper into how groups have responded to the Black Lives Matter movement and last summer’s calls for racial justice, as well as develop a greater understanding of impacts on organizations led by and serving BIPOC residents and other communities hard hit by COVID-19. They are looking for responses from “New York’s non-profit cultural community broadly defined,” so please share this with anyone you think should be included. Please complete the survey by Monday, March 1.


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. 

Commissioner’s Directive 11 is posted on the Film Permit website. Cast and crew limits on exterior filming on public property remain in effect 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.

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