We have spoken to many of you over the course of the last week, and we are acutely aware of the challenges you are facing during this daunting time. At the same time we are heartened by the creative thinking and innovative ways in which you continue to help and inspire others in the midst of such uncertainty. Please be assured that the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME), along with the rest of New York City government, is working overtime to do whatever we can to help and keep you informed, and we are committed to doing that throughout this crisis.
Mayor de Blasio, in coordination with the State of New York, has continued to announce new measures in response to the developing coronavirus situation. As of today, every New Yorker must stay at home from work. There is an exception for "essential" businesses and entities. All non-essential businesses must remain closed. Bars and restaurants may provide takeout. All non-essential gatherings of any size for any reason are banned, and social distancing must be maintained in public spaces.
On March 18, the Governor signed a program bill guaranteeing job protection and pay for New Yorkers who have been quarantined as a result of the virus, which will go into effect immediately. In addition, the state has waived the 7-day waiting period for unemployment insurance benefits for people who are out of work due to COVID-19 closures or quarantines.
We understand how this directly and adversely affects all of our lives, and we want to make sure you are aware of the city resources available.
You can also access all these links and more on MOME's website - www.nyc.gov/mome.
- The latest updates on the City's response to COVID-19, including recent guidance for the public, businesses, and facilities, information for those who may be unemployed to due COVID-19, and resources for those in specific professions, are available at NYC.gov/coronavirus or by calling 311 (212-639-9675 for Video Relay Service, or TTY: 212-504-4115). You can also text "COVID" to 692-692 for updates and information, or text "COVIDESP" to 692-692 for updates in Spanish.
- The NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) has financial assistance programs for local businesses impacted by COVID-19. The Employee Retention Grant Program offers small businesses with fewer than 5 employees a grant to cover 40% of payroll costs for two months to help retain employees. The Small Business Continuity Fund will offer eligible businesses to apply for zero interest loans of up to $75,000 to help mitigate losses in profit. The mechanics of the program are still being worked out but those who are interested are encouraged to take this SBS survey to share business challenges and receive updates on this and other financial assistance programs as they become available.
- MOME is also gathering information about the impact of COVID-19 on our creative industries and nighttime economy. The Office of Nightlife has created a Survey for Nightlife Workers, Freelancers, and Businesses Impacted by COVID-19 which will soon be available in 10 languages to encourage participation to ensure broad representation from the field. In the coming days, we will be expanding the survey to include additional sectors of the media and entertainment industry. We will be communicating the feedback and concerns we receive to City Hall, along with state and federal government, to inform policy recommendations.
- Due to the impact of COVID-19 on New York City's workforce, the Office of Emergency Management has developed a list of resources for those who may be unemployed due to COVID-19 or are seeking additional assistance.
- As the crisis continues to develop in ways that can feel alarming and heartbreaking all at once, support and assistance is available here and by calling 1-888-NYC-Well or text WELL to 65173.
- Opportunities to support relief efforts, including volunteer and donation opportunities, are listed here.
Please reach out at any time with questions, concerns or for support. Your feedback will make our work more effective. This is an unprecedented moment, but one thing is certain: we will get through this, as we always do, together.
Stay strong and be safe.
Anne del Castillo
Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment