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 Sunday, March 14, 2021, will mark the one-year anniversary of the city’s first reported COVID-19 death. The City of New York will honor this official day of remembrance with a memorial ceremony at 7:45pm on Sunday evening. The event will be broadcast live on NYC Media, the official broadcast network of the City of New York, on NYC Life/Channel 25.1 and NYC Gov/Channel 25.2 (check carrier listings here) and livestreamed on the City’s Twitter, Facebook and Youtube channels. The Mayor’s Office invites any New Yorker who has lost a loved one to COVID-19 to participate in the memorial by sharing the name and photograph of the person they lost. The photograph may be featured as part of the ceremony. More information is available on the Covid Memorial page.

In my own process of remembering, I took a moment to review my emails from a year ago. What I found filled me with a mixture of emotions. The uncertainty and fear of that time came rushing back, but so did the gratitude for the courage and calm of New Yorkers and for my team at the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME). A year later we grieve the loss of so many and so much, but we also honor the strength and resilience of New York City as we press forward in recovery.

Earlier this afternoon, I had a wonderful opportunity to celebrate that resilience with New York City’s theater community, as we gathered in Times Square to commemorate the day exactly one year ago that the lights went down on Broadway. Being together in that moment was an emotional reminder of what we’ve been fighting for in the wake of the pandemic: the heART of New York City that defines us as a global capital. The pop-up event organized by Holly-Anne Devlin of Kaleidoscope Entertainment in collaboration with the Times Square Alliance, NYCNext and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS was at once a moving, joyful, inspiring message from Broadway to the world that #WeWillBeBack.

Yesterday, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion economic relief package. The new law:
•    Improves the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)  
    o   Adds $1.25 billion to the SVOG program and $7.25 billion to the PPP.
    o   Allows a business or nonprofit to apply for both a PPP loan in 2021 and an SVOG award. (An SVOG award will be reduced by the total amount of 1st draw or 2nd draw loans received by a grantee on or after Dec. 27, 2020.)

•    Creates a new grant program for restaurants and bars
     o   Creates the new $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund grant program for food and beverage businesses, of up to $5 million for individual establishments and $10 million for groups
     o   Grant eligibility is calculated according to “pandemic-related revenue loss,” or the difference between 2020 revenue (including PPP loans) and 2019 revenue
     o   During the first 21 days, applications from restaurants owned and operated by women, veterans, or socially and economically disadvantaged individuals will receive priority.

•    Provides additional support to small businesses
     o   Allocates $10 billion in funding for the State Small Business Credit Initiative.
     o   Adds $15 billion to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program for those who applied previously and did not receive the full $10,000 grant.

•    Provides assistance and support to individuals
     o   Extends Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) through September 6, with a weekly benefit of $300.
     o   Provides direct assistance to households across America with checks of up to $1,400 per eligible person.
     o   Offers a COBRA subsidy of 100% for employees (and their family members) who experience a loss of group health coverage due to involuntary termination or reduced hours of employment through September.
    o   Provides $25 billion for emergency rental assistance and extends the current 15% increase to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.

•    Provides funding to local governments to maintain vital government services. 
    o   Allocates $6 billion to New York City and $12.6 billion to New York State.

As New York State has made significant progress in lowering the statewide positivity rate, the State is allowing more venues and non-profits to reopen. We want to keep you informed on some key reopening dates:

Starting March 15, non-residential events (i.e., gatherings held outside of a household) that involve the gathering of attendees (e.g., wedding receptions, celebrations, and similar private venue events, such as meetings and conferences) may exceed the state’s social gathering limit subject to extra precautions. Such events in New York City are subject to the “In-Person and Catered Events” section of the New York State Department of Health Interim Guidance for Food Services during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, pages 7-10, and the Interim Guidance for New York City Indoor Food Services during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. Occupancy of in-person and catered events is limited to the lesser of 50% for a particular area as set by the certificate of occupancy, or 150 people, exclusive of employees and event staff. Important notification and safety requirements apply to events exceeding the state’s social gathering limit, so please read the state guidance carefully. A venue operator hosting an in-person and catered event that exceeds the social gathering limit (currently 50 people) must notify the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC Health Department) at least five days before the event by submitting this form.

Starting March 19, indoor dining will expand to 50% capacity, subject to strict state guidance, which can be found here.

Starting March 22, the social gathering limits change as follows:

         •   Public spaces:
             ○   Indoors: 100 people
             ○   Outdoors: 200 people
         •   Residences:
             ○   Indoors: 10 people (no change)
             ○   Outdoors: 25 people

Until then, social gatherings are limited to 50 people in public spaces (indoors and outdoors) and 10 people at residences (indoors and outdoors).

Starting April 2, event, arts and entertainment venues can reopen at 33 percent capacity, up to 100 people indoors and up to 200 people outdoors. If all attendees present proof of negative test prior to entry, capacity can increase up to 150 people indoors and up to 500 people outdoors. Social distancing and face coverings will be required by all attendees, as well as strict adherence to all applicable NYS Department of Health guidance. Additional guidance will be available on the NY Forward website.


Last night, President Biden announced that eligibility for Covid-19 vaccinations would be extended to everyone by May 1. As of now, New Yorkers age 60 and older are eligible. New York State also expanded eligibility to a variety of public-facing workers, including government employees, nonprofit workers and essential building services workers, starting March 17, 2021. 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). Visit here for information about proof of eligibility.

Vaccine for All Corps is hiring 2,000 New Yorkers to support vaccination efforts across the five boroughs. Recruitment for Vaccine for All Corps jobs is led by the Workforce1 Career Center System operated by the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS), targeting candidates from the communities hit hardest by COVID-19. No healthcare experience is required for many of these positions, which include roles in site management, operations, and client services, in addition to clinical roles. More information is available at
Other ways to stay connected:

         •     Health Department Community Conversations:
         •     Health Department Vaccine Train the Trainer (regular weekly sessions open to the public):
         •     Health Department Newsletter Sign-up:

New COVID variants serve as an important reminder to 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. The Health Department now 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.

Domestic travelers to New York State who have been fully vaccinated are exempt from state quarantine requirements for 90 days after receiving their full vaccination. Beginning April 1, domestic travelers will no longer be required to quarantine after entering New York from another U.S. State or U.S. Territory. While no longer required, the NYS Department of Health still recommends quarantine after domestic travel as an added precaution. Mandatory quarantine remains in effect for international travelers. International travelers must continue to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance, which requires passengers traveling to the U.S. to show proof of a negative COVID test or clearance from a public health official or licensed health care provider prior to boarding. All travelers must continue to fill out the Traveler Health Form.

The U.S. Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) 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 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:

         •       Town Call on Health Coverage for Workers

This week, the State expanded eviction protections to small businesses with 100 or fewer employees, and to any business with 500 or fewer employees that was closed to in-person operations by executive order or department of health directive for two or more weeks between May 15, 2020 and May 1, 2021. The eviction moratorium will now run until May 1, 2021 and could be extended further.


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. We call your attention to the following resources on the federal government webpage:

         •        Application checklist
         •        Eligibility requirements
         •        Updated FAQ
         •        Training video on SAM registration

Open Culture applications are now open. The new program, which will run through October 31, allows ticketed, socially distanced, outdoor performances at nearly 200 street locations throughout the five boroughs. For more information, visit Archive video of an informational webinar on the program is available here. The NYS Department of Health will be issuing health and safety guidelines for live performances and we will update you as soon as that guidance is available. In addition, MOME will be posting a best practices guide, along with resource links, to guide planning for Open Culture events. Until the state publishes its guidelines, Open Culture participants must continue to follow all current laws, including requirements for face coverings and social distancing.

Commissioner’s Directive 11 is posted on the Film Permit website. 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.


Guidance for Open Restaurants is posted on the DOT website and the Mayor’s Office of Counsel has updated its plain-language guidance for outdoor dining. Participants may submit questions about Open Restaurants 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


MOME’s March newsletter features the latest on MOME programs, events and other NYC happenings in media and entertainment. 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