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, I had the privilege of celebrating an historic day with hip hop royalty and city and state officials as we gathered for the groundbreaking of the Universal Hip Hop Museum in the Bronx, the birthplace of hip hop. I am so proud to be part of an administration that is honoring what is arguably the most influential cultural movement in the world with this first-of-its kind museum. And while the pandemic might have delayed the project, now set to open in 2024, Thursday’s event proved that there’s No Stopping New York.

New York City reached another milestone this week as the MTA restored 24-hour subway service, and the State lifted capacity restrictions on most businesses. In addition, on May 19, New York State adopted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People. (You can read the governor’s announcement here.) The CDC Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People relaxes the masking and social distancing requirements for “fully vaccinated” people in most locations, except Pre-K to 12 schools, public transit, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, nursing homes, and healthcare settings. “Fully vaccinated” means two or more weeks after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The State issued a two-page summary on how businesses can implement the CDC guidance. Please read this summary carefully, as there are different rules that apply to different types of establishments:

        •    Businesses that do not congregate patrons and/or that operate below the State’s social gathering limit of 250 indoors or 500 outdoors (e.g., retail, food services, offices)
        •    Businesses that congregate patrons and operate above the State's social gathering limit (e.g., event venues, performing arts and entertainment, catering halls, and others)

Businesses may choose to adhere to CDC guidance that fully vaccinated people do not have to wear masks or be socially distanced, but unvaccinated individuals must. Otherwise they must continue to follow guidelines that require six feet of social distancing and masks for all individuals, including employees and patrons.

For liquor-licensed establishments, the NYS Liquor Authority has released an updated FAQ for food and beverage businesses that do not congregate patrons, which can be found here

Arts and Entertainment

There are changes to the guidance on capacity and masking for small-scale and large-scale events, which can be found here. NOTE: if you wish to offer a live performance that exceeds 500 people outdoors and 250 people indoors, you must notify the NYC Health Department at least five days in advance. You can make the notification here.

Restaurants and Bars

The COVID-19 capacity restriction was lifted for restaurants and bars, subject to social distancing requirements for unvaccinated individuals, in accordance with the NYS DOH Interim Guidance for New York City Indoor Food Services during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency and the State’s two-page summary.

As of May 17, the midnight curfew on outdoor dining was lifted. This change applies to private outdoor areas, and closing times are subject to a business’s liquor license stipulations. 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.

As of May 17, the 1am curfew was lifted for catered events where attendees have proof of vaccination status or negative COVID test result.

Starting May 31, curfews will be lifted on indoor dining and 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). 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

The indoor social gathering limit in public places is now 250, and the outdoor social gathering limit in public places is 500.

The indoor social gathering limit at residences is now 50; and the outdoor social gathering limit at residences is 500.

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.

Children ages 12 to 18 are eligible for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. 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.

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 Buses visit neighborhoods across the five boroughs to offer convenient, ADA-accessible COVID-19 vaccinations. In-person interpretation in multiple languages and multilingual vaccine materials are available on site. Appointments are not required, but you can book in advance through or by calling 877-VAX-4NYC. The full schedule is available here.

•   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). 
The Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) is partnering 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.

With proof of full vaccination becoming more important every week, we recommend that anyone who was vaccinated in New York State, sign up for the Excelsior Pass, which is easy to apply for, free, and offers a fast digital or paper proof of vaccination. 
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.


The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is accepting applications for the federal Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) through May 24 at 8:00 pm ET. 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.

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.

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.


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, sign up for the DCLA newsletter here.


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.


NYC Media is broadcasting 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