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 Congress finally agreed to a new aid package for the first time since April. The bill currently awaits approval by President Trump. While it falls short of the level of assistance we had hoped for and know is needed, if the bill passes, it would provide some critical relief for organizations and individuals struggling in the face of Covid-19.
1. The package would include $15 billion for “Save Our Stages.” The program will be administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and provide grants of up to $10 million. Grants are available to qualified live venue operators or promoters, theatrical producers, live performing arts organization operators, operators of non-profit museums that have auditoriums, movie theater operators, and talent representatives.

-  The following summarizes some requirements; for complete requirements see Section 324 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021.

-  To be eligible, all applicants must have been fully operational on February 29, 2020, and have at least 25% revenue loss in a quarter of 2020 compared to the same quarter of 2019. In addition:
·    Live venues at which the venue operator or promoter, theatrical producer or live performing arts organization operator promotes, produces, manages, or hosts events or the artists and entertainers represented or managed by the talent representative perform must:
  o    Have a defined performance and audience space, mixing equipment, PA system, and lighting rig;
  o    Have ticketed events and performances that are marketed (e.g. print, websites, email, social media); and
  o    Include at least two of the following roles: sound engineer, booker, promoter, stage manager, security personnel, box office manager.  
·   Movie theaters must have at least one auditorium with a movie screen and fixed seating, a projection booth, a paid ticket charge, and have ticketed movies that are marketed (e.g. print, websites, email, social media)
·   Non-profit museums must serve primarily as a museum, have indoor exhibition spaces, and have at least one auditorium, theater or performance or lecture hall with fixed audience seating and regular programming.
Grants for this program:

·         Can be used for rent, utilities, mortgages, debt, payroll, independent contractors (e.g., performers), and other business expenses  
·         Will be calculated as 45% of 2019 gross earned revenue, capped at $10 million  
(Note: Loans or grants from the CARES Act (e.g., PPP) will not count toward your total revenue)

The timing of applications will be as follows:

·         The start date has not been set   
·         The first two-week period will be open to those who have lost more than 90% of revenue April to December 2020 versus April to December 2019  
·         The second two-week period will be open to those who have lost more than 70% of their revenue April to December 2020 versus April to December 2019  
·         Then other eligible businesses may apply ($3 billion total will be set aside for this group)
2. A new round of forgivable loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) will bring an additional $284 billion to non-profits and small businesses, including bars and restaurants that may not be eligible for “Save Our Stages” grants.

The following summarizes some requirements; for complete requirements see Title III of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021.

To be eligible, applicants must:
·   Have 25% revenue loss in Q1, Q2, Q3 of 2020 relative to the same quarter in 2019 (Note: PPP or other loans do not count against these totals)  
·   Have fewer than 300 employees per location
·   Have used or will use the full amount of any PPP loan they already have   
·   Not be receiving a “Save Our Stages” grant

Some changes or new items in the second PPP round:

·   Maximum loan amount is now $2 million
·   The loan amount for “Accommodation and Food Services sector” will be calculated at 3.5 times annual payroll (other industries eligible at 2.5 times)
·    Loan forgiveness is now possible for more kinds of expenses including money spent adapting to Covid-19, software, and property damages
·    Tax deductions are allowed for expenses covered by forgiven loans
·    A simplified forgiveness process for loans less than $150,000
3. It would provide unemployment and direct assistance, including:

•  Unemployment Insurance benefits extended through March 14, 2021 with an additional $300 per week. Gig workers can claim up to 50 weeks of unemployment, up from 39 weeks.
•   Direct payments of up to $600 per adult and child (Mixed-status families eligible)
•   Added $25 billion in rent assistance to keep families in their homes and an extension of the eviction moratorium  
•   SNAP and child nutrition benefits increased $13 billion
•   $10 billion for childcare assistance
•   Earned-Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit strengthened
•   Tax credits added to support employers offering paid sick leave and retaining employees in the face of reduced revenue or closures
Please be assured that of the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME), along with the rest of our colleagues in City government, continues to advocate for additional relief and resources for our media, entertainment and nightlife communities.

On the public health front, yesterday Mayor de Blasio announced the launch of the NYC Vaccine for All Campaign. The citywide outreach campaign—translated into 16 languages for radio, television, newspapers, and digital media—will spread the word of a safe, effective, and free vaccine in New York City. 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.

At the same time, 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.


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.

Commissioner’s Directive 11 is now posted on the Film Permit website. The Directive updates NYC production guidance to align with the State’s latest COVID zone restrictions, which allows media production to continue in Orange and Yellow Zones. It also extends cast and crew limits on exterior filming on public property through February 28, 2021. 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. Please keep in mind that the Film Office is still operating remotely so please allow additional time for Film Permit processing.

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.

Guidance for winter operations of Open Restaurants is posted on the DOT website. 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

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

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.

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. Please note that MOME’s offices will be closed on Friday, December 25 and Friday, January 1 in observance of the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.

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