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

On Monday, hope arrived in New York City, as the first Covid-19 vaccinations were administered to frontline healthcare workers. This marks the beginning of the largest vaccination effort in the history of New York City, where we expect to administer more than 450,000 doses in the first three weeks alone. The City’s newly created Vaccine Command Center will lead the way to ensure the distribution is effective, efficient and equitable with a focus on the 27 hardest hit areas of the city.

In the meantime, we need to keep doing what we know works: wear a mask, socially distance, avoid nonessential travel, and get tested. Finding a test without a long wait is easier with this list of wait times at Health + Hospitals testing sites that will be refreshed every two hours.

The NYC Office of Mayor’s Counsel has posted plain language guidance on safe protocols for the holidays and current travel restrictions. 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 For more information, visit the New York State website at or call the New York State hotline at 888-364-3065.

For some holiday inspiration, remember to check out NYC and Company’s All In NYC: Neighborhood Getaways *Holiday Edition* which offers a comprehensive guide to the City’s 2020 holiday offerings. Virtual NYC provides online access to the City’s world-class arts, culture and entertainment experiences; and Shop NYC lists shopping guides to support our diverse local businesses. All In NYC: Bookstores includes a list of local bookstores throughout the city and offers access to special offers, discounts and even money back on certain purchases. This holiday season especially we encourage you to support local businesses and cultural organizations and encourage others to do the same by promoting your favorite spots on social media with the following hashtags as appropriate: #AllInNYC #ShopYourCity #NYCLovesBookstores #NYCDiningDecember.

I am especially proud that this year’s “Made in NY” Award honorees not only represent the ingenuity of NYC talent, but are also dedicated New Yorkers advocating for the City’s small businesses, frontline workers and vulnerable communities. On Thursday, we presented a “Made in NY” Award to Awkwafina at the New York Women in Film & Television's 41st MUSE Awards. In addition to becoming the first Asian American woman to win a Golden Globe for Best Actress for her role in “The Farewell” and helming her Comedy Central show “Awkwafina is Nora From Queens,” Awkwafina also has pledged to help small businesses in New York City's Chinatown affected by the coronavirus pandemic. On January 11, 2021, we will present a “Made in NY” Award to Jeffrey Wright during the 30th Annual IFP Gotham Awards. The Tony-, Emmy-, AFI- and Golden-Globe-winning actor has challenged outdated assumptions about representation through his work in theatre, film and television, including “Made in NY” productions “Boardwalk Empire,” “Angels in America,” and “Basquiat.” As co-founder of Brooklyn For Life!, Wright has helped support thousands of NYC's first responders, public housing residents and small businesses adversely impacted by COVID-19. Established in 2006, the “Made in NY” Awards recognize the achievements of individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to New York City's entertainment and digital media industries over the course of their careers.

The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) continues to work with our colleagues in government to do whatever we can to help the industries we serve and keep you informed about new developments in New York City’s reopening and recovery.

The City has issued COVID-19 testing recommendations to complement existing guidance on physical distancing, use of face coverings and other prevention tools, including an Employer FAQ and a one-pager on testing frequency guidance. The City is urging that employees with any exposure to the public get tested monthly. We encourage you to share these guidelines with your networks.

The NYC Department of Small Business Services is currently offering three financial assistance programs for small businesses in low-to-moderate income neighborhoods:
•   NYC LMI Storefront Loan. Storefront businesses with at least two but fewer than 100 employees that are located in certain neighborhoods are eligible for zero-interest loans up to $100,000. The loan can be used to help businesses restart or continue operations after experiencing challenges from COVID-19.

•   Reducing Business Debt. An Interest Rate Reduction Grant will help reduce the interest expense owed on an existing loan with select Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI). CDFIs focus on serving businesses that cannot easily access capital and creating opportunities that positively affect the communities they serve. SBS has partnered with 11 CDFIs who work primarily with Asian, Black, Latinx, and immigrant business owners.

•   Strategic Impact COVID-19 Commercial District Support Grant. This will provide funding to community-based development organizations (CBDOs) to implement local COVID-19 recovery support to small businesses. The funds will be used to conduct outreach, provide technical assistance to connect small businesses, increase awareness and comprehension of new City and State rules and regulations, and strengthen merchant relationships to foster collaboration and increased local organizing.
To accelerate the recovery of our small businesses, The NYC Small Business Resource Network offers free, personalized, one-on-one assistance for small business owners. The program is funded by The Peter G. Peterson Foundation, with support from the Partnership for New York City and the Partnership Fund and New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), in collaboration with Department of Small Business Services (SBS), and the Five Borough Chambers of Commerce. A team of dedicated Small Business Specialists will help small businesses navigate a range of challenges involving technology, real estate, legal and finance, new regulations, and more. Business owners can sign up for this service through the Chamber of Commerce in their borough.

The commercial eviction/foreclosure moratorium is now extended through January 31, 2021.

The State prohibition on indoor dining at food establishments continues, but outdoor dining, take out, and delivery are still allowed. The State Liquor Authority’s Guidance on Closing of Indoor Dining in New York City explains the state’s restrictions on SLA-licensed establishments, and additional guidance for SLA licensees is available here. From 10:00 pm to 5:00 am, restaurants and bars must close outdoor dining and may not serve alcohol to-go after 10:00 pm. Remember: New York State outdoor dining guidelines permit installing a temporary or fixed cover (i.e. awning, roof or tent) only if two or more side walls are open. If your structure has three side walls or more, it is considered an indoor dining area and therefore must close until State officials decide that indoor dining may resume.

Guidance for winter operations of Open Restaurants is posted on the DOT website and includes roadway barrier requirements, enclosure guidelines and expectations during snowfall, along with ways in which the City will help restaurant owners remain compliant. The City is ready to help program participants with any questions and is deploying a team of inspectors to assist owners/managers in understanding new and existing requirements. Participants may submit questions 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

This past Tuesday, the Office of Nightlife hosted a Town Call for Hospitality Workers, which is now available online. Representatives from the NYC Department of Health, Test & Trace Corps, Department of Consumer and Worker Protection, Street Activity Permit Office and the Freelancers Union discussed the latest information about City resources including:

          •  COVID-19 updates, health and safety measures
          •  Labor laws, gatherings, and live performance regulations
          •  Employment resources, and unemployment benefits
          •  Physical and mental healthcare
          •  Public aid including food and housing assistance
          •  Residential rent mediation and more

MEND NYC is a program offered by the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings' Center for Creative Conflict Resolution in partnership with the Office of Nightlife 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


Current guidance for filming is available on the Film Permit website. 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

Last week, the New York City Council approved the creation of an Open Culture Program for the use of designated City streets for artistic and cultural events from March 1 to October 31, 2021. Eligible entities include  members of the Cultural Institutions Group, organizations that are eligible for a grant from the Department of Cultural Affairs’ Cultural Development Fund, individuals who received funding from a borough arts council within the past two years, and NYC entertainment facilities  intended or designed to be used for a performance in front of a live audience. We look forward to sharing additional information about guidelines and eligibility in the coming months.

Guidance for group music activities, including live performances and music recording, in New York City during the COVID-19 public health emergency is 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.

* * *

MOME continues to support and participate in a wide variety of events by and for our fellow New Yorkers in the creative economy.
•    The 4th Annual Kwanzaa Film Festival runs December 26-31, 2020 and January 18, 2021. A community-based festival out of Harlem, the festival’s mission is to create space for emerging filmmakers to engage conversation in and around the diaspora. This year’s festival will be virtual with a vibrant lineup of panels, one-on-one discussions, master classes, workshops, and nearly 50 films.

•   MOME’s Off Broadway in the Boros: Pop Ups performances are now available online just in time for the holidays. Featured organizations include: Pregones/PRTT, The Bushwick Starr, La Mama, The Chocolate Factory, and A Collaboration: Kaleidoscope Entertainment and Staten Island Illuminart Productions. The series of five outdoor pop-up performances took place from October 23 through October 26, 2020 in public plazas across the five boroughs. 

•  Virtual NYC Curator Collections features a new group of contributors: Christopher Y. Lew (Whitney Museum of American Art), Kristina Newman-Scott (BRIC), Eileen Jeng Lynch (Wave Hill), Hitomi Iwasaki (Queens Museum), Matthew López (Tony-nominated playwright, “The Inheritance”), David Rios (Children’s Museum of Manhattan), Solana Chehtman (The Shed) and Victoria Munro (Alice Austen House). The Virtual NYC curators act as expert guides, handpicking their favorite online experiences including live and recorded performances, digitized exhibitions, social media gatherings and virtual tours from museums, galleries, comedy clubs, theaters and other venues around the city.
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.

Wishing you peace and light this holiday season.

Stay NYC strong,

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