Last Friday, for the first time since this awful crisis began, the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) had our first agency-wide videoconference with all MOME divisions: Film Office, NYC Media, Programs and Initiatives and the Office of Nightlife. It was an absolute joy to take a break from crisis management and recovery planning to reconnect and reassure one another that even though we are apart, we are still present for each other and working together as a team.
Please be assured that 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.
New York State on PAUSE is now extended through May 15, and all New Yorkers must wear a face covering when out in public and in situations where social distancing cannot be maintained. On Saturday, MOME extended film permit restrictions through May 31, and on Monday, Mayor de Blasio announced that all non-essential event permits have been cancelled through June 30, including NYC Pride, the Puerto Rican Day Parade and the Salute to Israel Parade. This citywide cancellation is inclusive of concerts, rallies and large gatherings.
MOME continues to monitor the impacts of the COVID-19 situation on the industries we serve. As part of this effort, we are asking New York City’s small media and entertainment industries, including but not limited to film, TV, theatre, music, digital content, to participate in MOME’s COVID-19 Business Impact Survey. The survey will remain open until tomorrow, April 23. Responses will inform our policy recommendations for recovery and relief efforts. In addition, we are organizing a series of “Town Calls” for businesses, nonprofits, workers and artists in media and entertainment. Details are forthcoming. MOME’s Office of Nightlife has also created a resource page for the nightlife community.
Our municipal television network, NYC Media, continues to broadcast 24-7 programming and information about the COVID-19 crisis on NYC Gov, including 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 Channel 25.2.
I also want to call your attention to some other updates and remind you of resources and programs available.
The New York State Department of Labor has updated their unemployment application so New Yorkers can apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance without having to apply for traditional unemployment insurance first and get denied. This change is intended to allow for more efficient processing of claims.
The Department of Small Business Services Workforce1 Career Centers are now operating remotely, offering assistance with identifying job opportunities, preparing for interviews, and accessing training.
The NYC Office of the Comptroller has compiled a list of private grants and financial assistance to help small businesses navigate the crisis.
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.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 an EIDL.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.
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) offers 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.
For Cultural Nonprofit Organizations
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.
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.
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.
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.
COVID-19 Updates and Health Resources
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.
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 “WELL” 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.
Volunteer and Donation Opportunities
Volunteer with Medical Reserve Corps if you’re a doctor, nurse, or licensed medical practitioner.
Donate critical medical supplies to support the City’s health care workers.
NYC Economic Development Corporation: Businesses can help source or make products needed for health care.
Supply Registration Form: For suppliers interested in selling or donating to the City. This includes offers for medical spaces.
Share Your Space to help support the City’s emergency operations or be used for community outreach events.
Donate the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City to support vulnerable New Yorkers.
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.
It’s worth noting that today marks the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day when 20 million Americans took to the streets across the country to raise awareness of environmental issues. In New York City, Mayor John Lindsay spoke at a rally in Union Square with actors Paul Newman and Ali McGraw. While we cannot take to the streets this Earth Day, we can still find ways to commit to building a more sustainable and inclusive future.
Over the course of the last six weeks, so many of you have done just that by supporting COVID relief efforts. Thank you for the donations of face masks and face shields and other PPE, as well as the donations of food to our healthcare workers. Your contributions are a testament to the commitment of the media/entertainment/nightlife community to the recovery of our beloved city.
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