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

By my count this is the 50th update that I have shared with you since the world was turned upside down by the pandemic. While there is still so much to do, and some things will never be the same, I continue to be inspired by all of you as we work together to turn our city right side up again. Each week brings new signs of progress and hope.

Earlier this week, New York State announced that people ages 30 and older are now eligible for vaccinations, and next Tuesday, April 6, vaccine eligibility will open to everyone ages 16 and older. More information on eligibility is available here.

This week also marks New York State’s official reopening of live performance venues
. What a joy it will be to once again hear laughter in comedy clubs, storytelling on stage, and live music in venues across the five boroughs. The State issued live performance guidance for small and medium scale performing arts and entertainment last night, which can be found here.

And on Thursday, April 8, the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program applications will open. The SVOG program provides emergency assistance for eligible venues affected by COVID-19. To receive an alert when the application opens, sign up here.


As the State allows more industries to reopen, we want to keep you informed about what is opening.

As of March 26, indoor amusement and family entertainment centers were allowed to reopen in accordance with the NYS Department of Health Interim Guidance for Indoor Amusement and Family Entertainment during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, which is now available on the New York Forward Phase 4 webpage.

As of yesterday, large performing arts and sports venues are allowed to reopen. Outdoor venues with 2,500+ capacity are capped at 20%; indoor venues with 1,500+ capacity are capped at 10%. Proof of a negative Covid-19 test or immunization is required for all attendees. Venues must follow the guidelines outlined in the New York State Department of Health’s Interim Guidance for Large Scale Performing Arts and Entertainment Venues during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. (We expect the guidance to be posted shortly on the New York Forward Phase Four Industries webpage.)

As of today, small and medium performances and live entertainment events are allowed to resume. Indoor venues with a capacity of less than 1,500 attendees can reopen at 33% capacity up to 100 people or 150 people with proof of a negative Covid-19 test or immunization from all attendees. Outdoor venues with a capacity of less than 2,500 attendees can reopen at 33% capacity, with up to 200 people or 500 people with proof of a negative Covid-19 test or immunization from all attendees. Social distancing and face coverings will be required for all attendees, as well as strict adherence to all applicable NYS Department of Health guidance. NYS Department of Health Interim Guidance for Small and Medium Scale Performing Arts and Entertainment during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency is available on the New York Forward Phase 4 webpage.

Starting April 5, the 11 p.m. curfew currently in place for casinos, movie theaters, bowling alleys, billiards halls, gyms and fitness centers will be lifted. The 11 p.m. curfew for food and beverage establishments and the 12 a.m. curfew for catered events will remain in effect. See Governor’s announcement for more details.

Starting April 9, outdoor amusement parks can reopen at 33% capacity. Amusement parks must submit reopening plans with health protocols to the New York City Health Department. Face coverings and social distancing will be required for all customers and staff, and customers will be required to have a health screening with temperature checks prior to entry. See Governor’s announcement for more details.

A reminder that non-residential events (i.e., gatherings held outside of a household) that involve the gathering of attendees (e.g., wedding receptions, celebrations, and similar private venue events, such as meetings and conferences) may exceed the state’s social gathering limit subject to extra precautions. Such events in New York City are subject to the “In-Person and Catered Events” section of the New York State Department of Health Interim Guidance for Food Services during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, pages 7-10, and the Interim Guidance for New York City Indoor Food Services during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. Occupancy of in-person and catered events is limited to the lesser of 50% for a particular area as set by the certificate of occupancy, or 150 people, exclusive of employees and event staff. Important notification and safety requirements apply to events exceeding the state’s social gathering limit, so please read the state guidance carefully. A venue operator hosting an in-person and catered event that exceeds the social gathering limit (currently 50 people) must notify the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC Health Department) at least five days before the event by submitting this form.

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 New York City Health Department at least five days in advance. You can make the notification here. The Health Department is updating this form to specifically address live performance, but you may begin using it before those updates are made.  

Applications for the NYC Open Streets program are now open. Administered by the NYC Department of Transportation, the program allows communities to dedicate roadway space to pedestrians and cyclists. Interested businesses and community partners can learn more and apply now at

As the 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.


This past Wednesday, March 31, MOME and the New York City Health Department hosted a COVID-19 Vaccine Town Call for Arts, Entertainment & Nightlife Community. We shared updates on the COVID-19 virus in New York City and information about the COVID-19 vaccines. Video of the event is available here.

For information about who is eligible and where to get the vaccine, please visit the NYC Vaccine Command Center website. Eligible New Yorkers can find vaccination sites and make an appointment online at or by calling 877-VAX-4NYC (1-877-829-4692). Visit here for information about proof of eligibility.
Other ways to stay connected:

         •     Health Department Community Conversations:
         •     Health Department Vaccine Train the Trainer (regular weekly sessions open to the public):
         •     Health Department Newsletter Sign-up:

New COVID variants serve as an important reminder to keep doing what we know works: wear a mask, socially distance, avoid nonessential travel, and get tested. You can find testing locations near you and check a list of wait times here. The Health Department now recommends people over the age of two-years-old wear snug fitting masks with two or three layers of material to better prevent unfiltered air from passing through. Alternatively, New Yorkers may wear two masks, with a cloth face covering over a disposable mask.

Today, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidance for domestic and international travel for people who are fully vaccinated. Travelers must continue to take the precautions outlined by the CDC and New York State.

         •      If you travel in the United States or its territories, you do not need to get tested for COVID-19 before or after travel nor must you self-quarantine after travel.
         •      If you travel internationally, you must follow CDC COVID-19 testing protocols to return to the U.S. and any applicable testing protocols of the destination country, but you do not need to self-quarantine after arriving in the United States.

In New York State, domestic travelers who have not been fully vaccinated are no longer required to quarantine after entering New York from another U.S. State or U.S. Territory. While no longer required, the NYS Department of Health still recommends quarantine after domestic travel as an added precaution. Mandatory quarantine remains in effect for international travelers. International travelers must continue to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance, which requires passengers traveling to the U.S. to show proof of a negative COVID test or clearance from a public health official or licensed health care provider prior to boarding. All travelers must continue to fill out the Traveler Health Form.

The deadline for applications to the
U.S. Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has been extended to May 31. The program currently offers: 

         •      First Draw PPP Loans for first time program participants, and
         •      Second Draw PPP Loans for certain businesses who have previously received a PPP loan.

To connect New York City’s small business owners to federal relief funds, the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) has launched Fair Share NYC, offering free webinars, technical assistance and access to lenders to help businesses interested in applying for PPP loans. For more information, visit or call 888-SBS-4NYC.

Archive recordings of earlier Town Calls for NYC Arts, Entertainment, Hospitality and Nightlife businesses and workers presented by MOME and the Office of Nightlife about the latest federal loans and other assistance programs are available here:

         •       Town Call on Health Coverage for Workers


Curtains Up NYC, a program partnership of MOME and NYC Department of Small Business Services, offers free technical assistance to live-performance venues, businesses, and non-profit organizations applying for SVOG and other federal assistance to help them put forward the strongest application, and, importantly, be first in line as soon as the SVOG applications go live. Trained counselors are also available for virtual, one-on-one sessions. Information is available on the Curtains Up NYC webpage or 888-SBS-4NYC. 

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. MOME has launched a new NYC Open Culture Program Resources page on our website, which includes the following resources:
•   Link to Open Culture Program guidelines on the NYC Street Activity Permit Office’s website

•   The Open Culture Roadmap: Tips for a Successful Performance in the Street for Open Culture participants with little to no experience mounting productions in New York City streets. The Roadmap includes tips for planning and preparation for Open Culture events, coordinating community relations, and examples of set ups of street performances. 

•   Links to best practices and protocols developed by live performance professionals.

•    A suite of graphics and sample posters for download by Open Culture participants to use at their events. Additional posters are available on the Department of Health website.
Note: We are in the process of updating the Open Culture program documents to reflect the new requirements in the NYS Department of Health Interim Guidance for Small and Medium Scale Performing Arts and Entertainment during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. Updates will be available next week.


Last night, the longest-running and most storied of all “Made In NY” television franchises opened a new chapter. Law and Order: Organized Crime is the seventh series in the Law & Order franchise, and it was wonderful to see Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Stabler (Christopher Meloni) together again. The series is one of 35 productions filming in New York City now.

Commissioner’s Directive 11 is posted on the Film Permit website, which also includes links to New York State issued industry specific guidance for Media Production. 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 U.S. Small Business Administration announced that the $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund will have a phased rollout this month, April 2021, according to numerous press reports. According to the American Rescue Act, the following types of entities are eligible if they have 20 or fewer locations: restaurants, food stands, food trucks, food carts, caterers, saloons, inns, taverns, bars, lounges, brewpubs, tasting rooms, taprooms, an alcohol beverage producer’s licensed facility or premises where the public may taste, buy or sample products or any other similar establishment where people assemble for the primary purpose of being served food or drink. An entity is ineligible if it is publicly traded, has a pending Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) application, or received an SVOG award. During the first 21 days (3 weeks) of the program, SBA will prioritize grants to eligible entities owned and controlled by women, veterans, or socially and economically disadvantaged small business concerns. The SBA will administer and disperse the grants, but the program does not yet have an official launch date. Everyone interested in applying for a grant should check in with the SBA’s COVID-19 relief options web portal.

Indoor dining is allowed to operate at 50% capacity in New York City, subject to strict state guidance, which can be found here. Guidance for Open Restaurants is posted on the DOT website and the Mayor’s Office of Counsel has updated its plain-language guidance for outdoor dining. Participants may submit questions about Open Restaurants 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

On March 31, New York State passed the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, which creates the framework that will build a regulated industry that will replace the illegal market. The full text of the law is available on the NYS Senate’s website and a summary is available on the NYS Senate’s website.  We expect to provide guidance on this new law and its impact on the hospitality industry in the coming weeks. 

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