4/15/20 Update from NYC Commissioner Anne del Castillo

Dear Friends,

As we enter week five of the COVID-19 emergency in New York City, I am deeply grateful for your support and partnership as we navigate these unprecedented times. Please be assured that of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME), along with the rest of City government, continues to do whatever we can to keep our media, entertainment and nightlife communities informed about the City’s response, available resources and opportunities to assist relief efforts.

This past weekend, Mayor de Blasio announced that New York City public schools shall remain closed through the end of the school year. New York State is on PAUSE through April 29. Accordingly, nonessential businesses shall remain closed and permitting activities shall remain suspended. Essential businesses are required to provide face coverings to employees who are in direct contact with customers or members of the public.

MOME continues to monitor the impacts of the COVID-19 situation on the industries we serve. Last week, we launched a survey of media and entertainment small businesses. Please encourage your networks to participate to ensure the broadest participation possible. The survey will remain open until April 23.

Earlier this week, the Office of Nightlife held two “Town Calls” for NYC’s nightlife community. We are grateful to our colleagues at the Mayor’s Office, NYC Department of Small Business Services, the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection, Small Business Administration (SBA) NY District Office, the NYC Hospitality Alliance and the Freelancers Union for lending their expertise and perspectives to the discussions.

I also want to call your attention to some other updates and remind you of resources and programs available.

Latest Updates

  • NEW: SBA Express Bridge Loans enable businesses with existing relationships with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly. These loans can be used to help small businesses overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing and can be used to bridge the gap while applying for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster loan.

  • NYC Department of Cultural Affairs has put together a list of resources for NYC’s cultural community, including funding support and business and legal assistance for organizations and artists.

  • The City Bar Justice Center’s Neighborhood Entrepreneur Law Project is offering free, remote legal advice from pro bono attorneys in response to COVID-19. The COVID-19 Small Business Remote Legal Clinic (the CV-19 Clinic) will offer pro bono legal consultations to small business owners to help them understand and act upon options available under the federal government’s COVID-19 stimulus package and other opportunities available through federal, state and local programs. The mission of the initiative is to help entrepreneurs in New York City determine the best path forward for their small businesses in these particularly challenging times.

  • The deadline for health insurance enrollment has been extended to May 15, 2020. GetCoveredNYC helps New Yorkers enroll in health insurance with dedicated specialists who can assist you in your language. Complete the form to receive free health insurance enrollment assistance from a specialist. You can also call 311 or text CoveredNYC (SeguroNYC en Espanol) to 877877 to be connected to a specialist and receive free enrollment assistance.

  • NYC Health + Hospitals is hiring 500 non-clinical staff to help with patient transport, clerical work, and cleaning. No medical background is required and hiring will be expanded to thousands soon. Visit nyc.gov/getwork for more information and to apply. Please indicate your referral source as “NYC MOMEâ?ť via the online application.


  • U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)’s CARES Act business programs

    • Small Business Debt Relief: SBA will automatically pay the principal, interest, and fees of current 7(a), 504, and microloans for a period of 6 months; the SBA will also automatically pay the principal, interest, and fees of new 7(a), 504, and microloans issued prior to September 27, 2020.
    • Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and Loan Advance provides a low-interest, fixed rate loan up to $2 million, which can be used to pay immediate expenses during an emergency (payroll, bills/accounts payable, fixed debts) and an advance of up to $10,000 awarded within 3 days of application.
    • Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) provides loans to small businesses with 500 or fewer employees, sole proprietors, self-employed persons, and independent contractors to help cover fixed operating costs for an 8-week period of time, portions of which may be forgiven if the company maintains its payroll. Technical support is available from Small Business Centers here.

  • Freelancers Union Relief Fund offers support for freelancers impacted by COVID-19. The fund provides financial assistance of up to $1,000 per household to cover lost income and essential expenses not covered by government relief programs, including food/food supplies, utility payments, and cash assistance for income loss.

  • The Freelancers Union continues to survey freelancers to gauge how COVID-19 is impacting their work and their lives. While the survey is national, MOME will be working with Freelancers Union to review responses from New York City and communicate feedback to City Hall, as well as state and federal government, to inform policy recommendations.

  • Americans for the Arts is conducting a Survey of the Economic Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on the Arts and Cultural Sector. The survey will capture a broad spectrum of data and stories that will demonstrate how the arts and culture workers are managing through the crisis as well as the effect of the outbreak on operations through cancelled events, lost wages, and additional expenses. While the survey is national in reach, the data can be parsed by specific geographic regions, artistic disciplines, and budget categories, to enable us to see the impact on New York City specifically.

  • Due to the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 on New York City’s workforce, the City of New York has developed a list of resources for those who may be unemployed due to COVID-19 or are seeking additional assistance. In addition, ACCESSNYC is a city-run portal for NYC residents to determine their eligibility for more than 30 economic programs and benefits.

  • For those who wish to seek support and assistance during this very difficult time, NYC Well is available 24/7 to connect New Yorkers to a range of free mental health support services. They can be reached by calling 1-888-NYC-Well (692-9355) or texting “WELLâ?ť to 65173. In addition, they offer a new guide which includes information on how New Yorkers can access mental health services while staying home, by phone or online.

  • The latest updates on the City’s response to COVID-19, including recent guidance and case data, are available at NYC.gov/coronavirus or by calling 311 (212-639-9675 for Video Relay Service, or TTY: 212-504-4115). You can also text “COVID” to 692-692 for updates and information, or text “COVIDESP” to 692-692 for updates in Spanish.

  • In addition, our municipal broadcast network, NYC Media, is now running 24-7 programming and information for the COVID-19 crisis on NYC Gov. The channel offers live video coverage of Mayoral press conferences and the latest public service announcements, including COVID-19 related emergency alerts, the latest guidance, and changes in City services. NYC Gov is available on Spectrum 74, FiOS 24, Altice 74, RCN 81 and over-the-air broadcast on 25.2.

Volunteer and Donation Opportunities

To find other ways to help New Yorkers affected by COVID-19, or to find COVID-19 related assistance, visit Help Now NYC.

For the latest updates, follow us on our social media channels on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram or visit our website at www.nyc.gov/mome.

On a personal note, this coming Friday marks my first year as MOME’s Commissioner. Over the course of the last year, it’s been a privilege to get to know and celebrate each of the industries in our portfolio — from film/tv production, to theatre, music, advertising, book publishing, video games and nightlife. Thank you for your continued collaboration and inspiration during these challenging times. As always, please feel free to reach out with any questions, concerns or for support.

Stay strong and be safe.


Anne del Castillo
Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment

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