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 was Streets Week! as Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a series of initiatives to further transform New York City streets in 2021:
•  Open Streets is now a permanent program administered by the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT). Last year, the City created 83 miles of Open Streets, the most in the United States. A full list of Open Streets can be found on the Open Streets webpage.

•   “Open Boulevards” is a new program to enhance and expand 10 multi-block corridors to create dining destination experiences throughout the city. Building off last year’s successful Open Streets: Restaurants program, Open Boulevards will create extra space for dining and feature cultural activities, community-based programming, landscaping and other beautification, and art installations. More information, including days, hours, and operating partners, can be found on the Open Boulevards webpage.

•   The City plans to install 30 miles of protected bike lanes, the most installed in one year in New York City history. Mayor de Blasio also announced the proposed locations of new “Bike Boulevards” in each borough, which will slow vehicular speeds and limit volumes to create low-stress bike infrastructure in a pedestrian-friendly environment.
The policy announcements expand on Vision Zero to transform New York City streets and make them more accessible for everyone.


On May 12, following federal approval, the State authorized all NYS vaccine providers to expand eligibility for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to children ages 12 and older. Children under the age of 18 now account for more than 20% of new cases in the U.S., so we urge everyone with children ages 12 and older to make their vaccination appointments today.

On May 13, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance for fully vaccinated people, including relaxed restrictions on face coverings. Governor Cuomo announced that the State is reviewing the CDC guidance; however, as of today, the State has not relaxed its laws and workplace guidance mandating masks for vaccinated people indoors. NYS Executive Order 202.17 and Executive Order 202.105 currently require people over the age of two to wear face coverings in public places with one exception: fully vaccinated people are not required to wear masks outdoors except in crowded settings and venues. (“Fully vaccinated” is defined as two or more weeks after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.) NOTE: State guidance still mandates face coverings for all participants in entertainment events like those under our Open Culture program, and film shoots, whether or not they have been vaccinated (except for performers, as allowed by state guidance).

The good news is: It’s never been easier to get a vaccine. Many vaccination sites in the City no longer require appointments. See a list of sites where you can get a walk-up vaccination today.
•   Members of the performing arts, entertainment, and film/tv community who are either working, living, or attending school in New York City can request assistance from The Actors Fund to schedule vaccine appointments at The ATC Broadway Vaccination Site Times Square by calling 917-281-5937 or emailing your name and phone number to

•   The NYC Mobile Vaccine Bus is serving all New Yorkers 18+ in neighborhoods across the city. (The Buses will start offering Pfizer to New Yorkers 12+ starting May 19.) In-person interpretation in multiple languages and multilingual vaccine materials are available on site. The Buses will be in Stuyvesant Heights, Allerton, Fordham, Astoria, and Corona Plaza Saturday, May 15, and in Stuyvesant Heights, Mott Haven, Fordham, Astoria, and Corona Plaza on Sunday, May 16. The full schedule is available here. You don’t need to schedule an appointment, but you can if you want to by visiting or by calling 877-829-4692.

•   NYC residents who cannot leave their home can sign up for an in-home vaccination online or by calling 877-VAX-4NYC (877-829-4692).

•   Free transportation to vaccination appointments in NYC is available for city residents 65 and older and those with disabilities who have no other way to get to a vaccination site. To arrange for transportation, call 877-VAX-4NYC (877-829-4692). 
Last week, the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) in partnership with NYC Department of Health and AFM Local 802 launched Music Heals a new program featuring live one-hour performances at 11 City-run vaccination centers across the five boroughs through June 20.

And this week, Mayor de Blasio announced new perks for those getting vaccinated:
•   The MTA will provide a free 7-day MetroCard or a free LIRR/Metro-North round trip ticket to people getting vaccinated at newly announced transit pop-up sites.

•   Get Vaxed and Get the Shack!
    •   Now, while supplies last, New Yorkers can score a free ShackBurger voucher when they get vaccinated at one of the City’s mobile vaccine buses. To see where the buses are see this updating list of walk-up vaccination sites.
     •   And through June 12, 2021, free Crinkle Cut Fries are available for vaccinated New Yorkers with the purchase of any burger or chicken sandwich. Just show them your vaccine card or Excelsior Pass before ordering in-store at certain locations. 

The NYS Department of Health’s COVID-19 Travel Advisory no longer requires asymptomatic travelers entering New York State from another country, U.S. state, or territory to test or quarantine. Fully vaccinated travelers should follow the relaxed CDC travel guidance for fully vaccinated travelers. Quarantine, consistent with the CDC recommendations, is still recommended for all travelers who are not fully vaccinated or have not recovered from laboratory confirmed COVID-19 during the previous three months. Symptomatic travelers must immediately self-isolate and contact the local health department or their healthcare providers to determine if they should seek COVID-19 testing. You can find the nearest testing location here.

All travelers must continue to fill out the Traveler Health Form unless the traveler had left New York for less than 24 hours or is coming to New York from a contiguous state. Contiguous states to New York are Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont. 

For up to date information, sign up for the NYC Health Department newsletter.


Last week, Governor Cuomo announced that on May 19, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut plan to lift capacity restrictions—subject to space available to socially distance—for  retail stores, food services, gyms and fitness centers, amusement and family entertainment, hair salons, barbershops, offices, and other kinds of businesses and non-profits, with some exclusions. As we wait for details from the State, this is what we know now:

Arts and Entertainment

Starting May 19, capacity limits for large performing arts and sport venues will increase to 30% indoors. Outdoor large venues will be limited by the capacity necessary to comply with the CDC social distancing rules and fully vaccinated attendees at these events may be seated at full capacity in assigned sections. Until May 19, capacity is capped at 20% for outdoor venues with 2,500+ capacity, and 10% for indoor venues with 1,500+ capacity. NYS Department of Health’s Interim Guidance for Large Scale Performing Arts and Entertainment Venues during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency is available on the New York Forward Phase 4 webpage.

Required Local Health Department Notifications for Live Performance:
If you wish to offer a live performance that exceeds the social gathering limit (but is within the limits established by the State for performances when the audience is COVID-19 tested or vaccinated) you must notify the NYC Health Department at least five days in advance. You can make the notification here.


Starting May 15, offices can increase capacity from 50% to 75% in accordance with NYS DOH Interim Guidance for Office-Based Work.

Public Transportation

Starting May 17, the New York City subway will resume 24-hour service. It is currently closed from 2am to 4am. New York City will continue its cleaning and disinfection efforts when 24-hour service resumes.

Restaurants and Bars

Restaurants and Bars are no longer required to sell food with the purchase of alcoholic beverages at restaurants and bars.

Starting May 17, the midnight curfew on outdoor dining will be lifted. This change applies to private outdoor areas, and closing times are subject to a business’s liquor license stipulations. Until then, food and beverage establishments must cease all on-premises service and consumption of food and beverages (including alcohol) by midnight under NYS Executive Order 202.102. SLA-licensed establishments should visit the State Liquor Authority website for additional guidance about closing times. NOTE: The midnight closing hour for NYC Open Restaurants roadway seating will remain in effect until further notice.

Starting May 17, the 1am curfew will be lifted for catered events where attendees have proof of vaccination status or negative COVID test result. And then on May 31, the curfew will be lifted for all catered events that qualify under the NYS DOH Interim Guidance for New York City Indoor Food Services during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (In-Person and Catered Events Section).

Starting May 19, capacity restrictions are lifted for restaurants and bars, subject to social distancing requirements, in accordance with the NYS DOH Interim Guidance for New York City Indoor Food Services during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.

Starting May 31, the midnight curfew on indoor dining will be lifted. Until then, food and beverage establishments must cease all on-premises service and consumption of food and beverages (including alcohol) by midnight under NYS Executive Order 202.102. SLA-licensed establishments should visit the State Liquor Authority website for additional guidance about closing times.

MOME’s Office of Nightlife has made a suite of operational guidance materials and public informational posters and graphics available for download at Guidance for Open Restaurants is posted on the DOT website. Participants may submit questions about Open Restaurants to DOT at or call the SBS hotline at (888) SBS-4NYC.

Social Gatherings

On May 10, the social gathering limit in outdoor public places increased to 500.

Starting May 19, the indoor social gathering limit in public places increases to 250; the indoor social gathering limit at residences increases to 50; and the outdoor social gathering limit at residences is removed.

Moratorium Updates: The ban on commercial and residential evictions, foreclosure proceedings, credit discrimination and negative credit reporting related to the effects of the pandemic is extended until August 31, 2021. The moratorium that prevents utility companies from disconnecting utilities to residential households and small businesses that are struggling with their bills due to the COVID-19 pandemic is extended for a period of 180 days after the COVID-19 state of emergency is lifted or 180 days after December 31, 2021, whichever is earlier.

NYC Stay Well Pledge: As the New York City reopens, ensuring everyone’s well-being is paramount. In partnership with our colleagues at NYC & Company, we are asking arts, entertainment and hospitality groups and their stakeholders to take the Stay Well Pledge to help the five boroughs reopen responsibly. Taking the Pledge means you agree to adhere to public health protocols and ask your patrons to do the same. We know it will take a community effort to help inspire confidence and educate the public about what we all are doing to ensure a safe and strong reopening.


The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) says it will begin making the first round of Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) award decisions in late May. If you have applied, see SBA’s new FAQ for after application submission and before award notification. Eligible operators of live venues, live performing arts organizations, museums and movie theatres, as well as live venue promoters, theatrical producers and talent representatives may apply for critical economic relief under this program. For more information and to view applicant resources, visit the SVOG website. For SVOG application portal technical support such as a password reset, browser suggestions, or how to use the multi-factor authentication with an app and the QR code, applicants can call 1-800-659-2955 or, for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, 1-800-877-8339 and follow the prompts to SVOG assistance.

NYC live-performance venues, businesses, and non-profit organizations applying for SVOG and other federal assistance can access free technical assistance through Curtains Up NYC, a program partnership of MOME and NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS). Trained counselors are also available for virtual, one-on-one sessions. Information is available on the Curtains Up NYC webpage or 888-SBS-4NYC.

The SBA is also accepting applications for the federal Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF). The program provides non-taxable grants to restaurants, bars, and other food and beverage businesses hit hardest by the COVID-19 crisis. Individual establishments may qualify for up to $5 million and restaurant groups may be eligible for up to $10 million in grant funding. NYC restaurants and bars can access free technical assistance through Fair Share NYC: Restaurants, a program partnership of MOME and the Office of Nightlife in partnership with SBS. Information is available on the Fair Share NYC: Restaurants webpage or 888-SBS-4NYC.

After serving more than eight million small businesses, the general appropriation for the bipartisan Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has been exhausted. The SBA will continue funding outstanding approved PPP applications, but new qualifying applications will only be funded through a remaining $9.9 billion set aside for Community Financial Institutions, program participating financial lenders that serve underserved communities such as Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs), Certified Development Companies (CDCs) and Microloan intermediaries. For more information, visit the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program website.

The SBA recommends that businesses considering applying for federal grants or loans for COVID-19 relief refer to this helpful resource page that summarizes criteria and restrictions for the various SBA programs.


Last week, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs announced the New York City Artist Corps, a $25 million investment in local artists to bring creative programming and engagement to every corner of the city this summer. A historic investment in local artists, the program will put artists to work this summer to bring public spaces to life in all five boroughs and build on efforts to spur New York’s recovery. To receive updates on the program, email


Commissioner’s Directive 11 concerning media production on public property in NYC is posted on the Film Permit website, which also includes links to NYS Department of Health Interim Guidance for Media Production and related resources. Current New York State guidance requires productions to ensure that employees, cast and crew members, whose job functions or roles involve close or proximate contact with cast members, have been tested for COVID-19 through a diagnostic test, prior to their participation in media production activities, and at least once per week thereafter, when on site or location. Testing is not required for such individuals that have completed the COVID-19 vaccination series plus 14 days; such individuals must provide proof of completion. MOME has updated its FAQ to reflect this change and others concerning live studio audience capacity and COVID-19 Zones. 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.


Open Culture performances continue to roll out in neighborhoods across the city. The program, which runs through October 31, allows ticketed, socially distanced, outdoor performances at nearly 200 street locations throughout the five boroughs. The NYC Open Culture Program Resources page offers tips for planning and preparation for Open Culture events, links to best practices and protocols for live performance developed by unions and performing arts organizations, and a suite of graphics and sample posters for Open Culture participants to use at their events. Additional posters are available on the Department of Health website.


This past Thursday, NYC Media broadcast the first of several citywide election debates on NYC Gov/Channel 25.2 (Channel 74 on Spectrum and Altice, Channel 24 on FiOS, and Channel 81 on RCN). The next debate is scheduled on May 26 and features the Republican mayoral candidates. The full debate schedule is available on the Campaign Finance Board’s website.

The primary elections for New York City Mayor, Comptroller, Public Advocate, Borough Presidents, Manhattan District Attorney, and some City Council seats will be held on June 22, 2021, and early voting begins on June 12. The deadline to register to vote is May 28. You can find out if you are registered online and you can learn how to register to vote on the NYC Board of Elections website.

For the first time, New York City voters will use ranked choice voting. To learn how ranked choice voting works, watch the New York City Campaign Finance Board’s video.

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