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

Last week, New York City registered a historic 61.8% self-response rate to the 2020 Census, surpassing the Census Bureau’s own pre-COVID estimate for self-response in the New York City area, which was 58%. New York City outpaced most major cities in the United States, including Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Miami, and Houston. Thanks to all of you for your work in getting New York City counted and showing that we are indeed #NYCstrong.

This Saturday, October 24, early voting begins in New York City. Click here to find your local poll site.

Yesterday, the State announced that COVID zone restrictions will be eased in certain parts of Brooklyn and Queens. Some zones previously designated as Red and Orange will move to Yellow, and businesses in those areas can reopen as of today.

Brooklyn COVID Zones:
         •  Previous Red Zone will remain Red
         •  Previous Orange Zone will move to Yellow
         •  Previous Yellow Zone will remain Yellow
Queens COVID Zones:
         •  Previous Red & Orange Zones will move to Yellow
         •  Previous Yellow Zones will remain Yellow

To find out where the zones are, and to see what restrictions apply to each zone, please visit

Whether you are in a designated zone or not, remember to follow the core four—wear a mask, wash your hands, practice social distancing, stay home if you’re sick—and get tested! For more information on free testing, personal protective equipment and more, please visit the NYC Mayor's Office Coronavirus page.

At the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME), we recognize the significant challenges so many of our businesses and workers are facing. We continue to work with our colleagues in government to do whatever we can to help and keep you informed about new developments.

Earlier this week, the Office of Nightlife at the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment conducted a virtual “Town Call” about current guidelines for indoor and outdoor dining. Representatives from City agencies covered the following subject areas:

         •   Health & Safety Guidelines (Department of Health and Mental Hygiene - DOHMH)
         •   Outdoor Dining (Department of Transportation - DOT)
         •   Business Resources (Department of Small Business Services - SBS)
         •   Fines, Summons and Trials (Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings - OATH)
         •   Inspections and Enforcement (Office of Special Enforcement - OSE)
         •   Air Filtration and HVAC (Department of Buildings - DOB)
         •   Outdoor Heaters (Fire Department - FDNY)

Guidance on outdoor heating can also be found here. Options include:
•  Electric radiant heaters will be allowed in sidewalk and roadway seating setups. For full guidance from the Department of Buildings, click here.
•  Natural gas radiant heaters will be allowed on the sidewalk only. For full guidance from the Department of Buildings, click here. Natural gas radiant heaters must also comply with the Fire Code.
Portable heaters fueled by propane will be allowed on the sidewalk only. Propane heating will be regulated by the Fire Department, with requirements for safe handling, use and storage. For full guidance from the Fire Department, click here.
The commercial eviction/foreclosure moratorium is now extended through January 1, 2021.

Most restaurants and bars are now allowed to add a Covid-19 Recovery Charge to their bills. Businesses are not required to implement the charge; it is optional. In other parts of the country surcharges of this type have helped businesses sustain operations and pay for added expenses like personal protective equipment and outdoor dining equipment. The restrictions on this charge as are as follows:
•  Maximum of 10% of the total bill
•  Subject to sales tax
•  Cannot be added to takeout or delivery orders
•  Must be clearly disclosed in English and any other languages used on menus on all menu pages, chalkboards, and websites
•  Total amount of the charge must be clearly added to all receipts
•  Must be referred to as “COVID-19 Recovery Charge” or “COVID Charge”
•  This is not a gratuity, and that must be explained clearly
•  May not be used as an added charge for a banquet, special event or package deal
•  May not be added by a food service establishment that is part of a chain with 15 or more locations nationally
To assist businesses participating in outdoor dining, the Office of Nightlife has made the following guides and informational materials available for download at

         • ”What to Expect When You’re Inspected”
         • “Multi-agency Reopening Toolkit for Restaurants and Bars”
         • It’s Up to You, New York social distancing guides and graphics
         • Take Out, Don’t Hang Out posters

The Office of Nightlife has also partnered with the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings' Center for Creative Conflict Resolution to provide free mediation and conflict resolution services to address a number of neighborhood disputes while ensuring that small businesses thrive. MEND NYC helps address issues that may include:

         • Quality-of-life issues between residents and businesses
         • Negotiation between commercial tenants and landlords
         • Neighboring business to business misunderstandings

Design Corps: Small Business Reopening Network is an online directory where restaurants and venues can connect with licensed, trained designers and architects for free consulting and services to help improve their space and ensure compliance with outdoor dining requirements. For additional information on the Design Corps program please review the detailed guidelines.


Current guidance for filming is available on the Film Permit website. Restrictions on over-dimensional vehicles remain in effect until October 31, 2020. The 100-person cap on cast and crew filming on exterior locations on public property remains in effect through December 31, 2020. 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.

To assist productions with promoting safety protocols on set, the Film Office has produced a suite of graphics and posters available for download here.

Movie theaters outside of New York City can reopen starting October 23 at 25% capacity with no more than 50 people allowed in front of each screen. Theaters can only open outside of New York City in counties that have COVID-19 positivity rates of less than 2% on a 14-day average and do not have any cluster zones.

While there are still certain limitations on event permits through December 31, 2020, we continue to work with agency partners to support safe, creative arrangements for community celebrations, performances, and activations throughout the city. Frequently asked questions about outdoor events permitting can be found here.

Guidance for group music activities, including live performances and music recording, in New York City during the COVID-19 public health emergency is now available on the MOME website. The music guidance synthesizes COVID-19-related safety requirements from numerous sources, including the New York State Department of Health, the Empire State Development Corporation, the State Liquor Authority, and other State and City laws. The guidance is presented in a plain-language format and includes links to information from other State and City government agencies.

New York State’s COVID-19 Travel Advisory now includes 43 states and Guam and Puerto Rico. Non-essential travel between New Jersey and Connecticut is discouraged. Travelers from Level 2 and Level 3 countries (that’s all but 31 countries from across the globe) and other areas with high infection rates must provide local authorities with contact information and quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in New York. For more information, visit the New York State website at or call the New York State hotline at 888-364-3065.

* * *

MOME continues to support and participate in a wide variety of events by and for our fellow New Yorkers in the creative economy.
•  The 13th Annual Bushwick Film Festival continues through October 25 and features five days of virtual screenings, events and panels. The festival is committed to community building, empowering underrepresented storytellers, and increasing diversity in film.

•  The 32nd Annual New York LGBTQ+ Film Festival continues through October 27 with more than 120-plus films available. “Free To Be Me” offers films appropriate for high school students.

•  The 9th Annual Dominican Film Festival NYC continues through October 30. This is the largest film festival outside the Dominican Republic itself to focus specifically on Dominican cinema. DFFNYC official program will include a roster of 70 films and offering a program boasting a wide range of genres, from comedy to thriller and drama to romance, plus an homage to the classics and panel discussions with the top leaders of the film industry.

•   PaleyFest NY 2020, the premier television festival in the country is online this year October 23 - 27. There will be screenings, panels and other events featuring talent from today’s most interesting television shows. You’ll get exclusive behind-the-scenes scoops, hilarious anecdotes, and breaking news stories.

•   ”Made in NY” Talks | Working from Home (WFH): Careers in Animation takes place October 26. Even in this challenging time, animation studios are hiring new talent and creating hits to meet unprecedented demand from streaming platforms and beyond. Discover how you can ignite your imagination and creativity, and bring art to life through animation! The “Made in NY Talks” series brings together industry leaders to share insight, information and news with New Yorkers looking to work in media and entertainment. Register in advance.
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

As always, please feel free to reach out with any questions, concerns or for support.

Stay NYC strong,

Anne del Castillo
Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment
Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment