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Office of Nightlife: 2020 Year in Review

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NYC Office of Nightlife: 2020 Year in Review

As we wrap up this most unusual year, we want to acknowledge how we have been weathering this storm together. Our city's beloved nightlife industry has taken a hit unlike anything before. Still, thanks to your determination, creative problem-solving and advocacy, the Office of Nightlife has been able to achieve several accomplishments toward our recovery.

 Download: NYC Office of Nightlife 2020 Year in Review (pdf)


Understanding the Initial Impacts of Covid-19

When the shutdown was officially announced on March 15th due to the emerging pandemic, the Office of Nightlife rapidly deployed a survey for NYC nightlife businesses, workers, and freelancers to understand the immediate impacts of Covid-19 on the industry. In less than one month, we gathered stories and data from more than 11,000 operators, staff, and gig workers. We condensed this information and delivered it to City and State decision-makers to best advocate for your immediate needs.


Representing Nightlife in City Government

Throughout the year our Office held eight of our dedicated Nightlife Interagency Working Group meetings, where City and State officials review and coordinate recommendations and reforms specific to nightlife and hospitality.

Additionally, we were able to help shape New York City's first-ever Open Restaurants program, supporting our partners at the Departments of Transportation, Health, and Small Business Services. As of December 30, more than 10,000 food and drink establishments are participating.

Due to the program's success, the City announced that the Open Restaurants program would be made permanent year-round.

This fall, we also published the inaugural report of Multi-Agency Response to Community Hotspots (MARCH) Operations, making data on these multi-agency inspections of nightlife businesses publicly available for the first time.


Bringing Guidelines and Information to the Nightlife Community

To help eligible bars and restaurants better understand the evolving State and City regulations, the Office of Nightlife curated and designed many clarifying resources, including: "What to Expect When You're Inspected Checklist," and a plain language "FAQ for Indoor and Outdoor Dining Guidelines".  

We are also proud to have launched citywide public awareness campaigns reminding everyone, "It's Up to You New York, Socialize Responsibly", "Take Out, Don't Hang Out", and most recently, to "Celebrate Responsibly, Don't Drop the Ball" this holiday season.

Over the last 10 months, the Office of Nightlife has also hosted eight virtual "town calls" for owners, operators, workers and performers. More than ten thousand of you have participated to get the most up-to-date information and have your questions answered directly from City and State agencies.


Supporting Efforts to 'Save Our Stages'

The Office of Nightlife was proud to have fiercely advocated for the passage of the 'Save Our Stages' Act within the federal Covid-19 Relief Bill. This fall, senior executive director Ariel Palitz wrote an op-ed with New York City Council Member Justin Brannan in Variety Magazine showing our support for the $15 billion in federal aid that was ultimately granted to our industry. None of this could have been accomplished without all of your collective voices and unrelenting perseverance through these most difficult times.


Mediating Establishment and Neighborhood Disputes (MEND NYC)

In addition to our efforts to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, the Office of Nightlife has also spent the last year working to implement new programs. The Office of Nightlife was proud to launch MEND NYC (Mediating Establishment Neighborhood Disputes). This program, a collaboration with the Center for Creative Conflict Resolution at OATH, provides free mediation and conflict resolution services to resolve quality of life issues between venues and their neighbors through communication and compromise, rather than enforcement.

Since its launch in summer, we have received over 150 inquires and have completed several mediations between neighboring businesses, landlords and tenants, and community members.




As we make our way to the end of this most difficult year, we want to thank everyone for staying strong, creative, and vigilant in keeping New York City moving forward towards reopening and recovery.

We thank you for your partnership, advocacy and trust. At the end of the day it is your experiences, ideas, and feedback that help inform how we can best serve and represent you. This office's greatest strength is your voice.

Although there is still a long winter ahead, our vibrant city and its world-famous hospitality and nightlife scene will be back. Let us continue to do whatever we must do as only New Yorkers can until that day.

In the meantime, please know the Office of Nightlife is here with you and for you every step of the way.

From, Senior Executive Director Ariel Palitz and everyone at the NYC Office of Nightlife.
Stay safe, healthy, connected, and positive.
Onward and upward as we look forward to a better 2021.