‘The future is looking brighter than ever as a tale of two cities is returning after a year-long agony of dormant pandemic hibernation.
The pandemic has given us a year of lousy sleep, insomnia and the desire to visit friends and relatives, but all of this is changing.
Two of NYC’s favorite islands are coming back better than ever. Tiny City Island, A Slice of New York City Paradise, know as The island and Manhattan, known as The City are launching as the perfect duo to celebrate a new beginning, including increased vaccinations and live performances on Broadway’s theater district; as well celebrations along City Island Avenue.
The Mayor urged New York State to issue clear guidance for live performance to help ensure that workers and audiences can return safely. Legendary thespian André De Shields summed it up for all of us when he said: “New York is on its way back, but it will not completely arrive until not only Broadway but all theatre across this great city, can return.”
A return of New York City’s creative community is what the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) has been working on together with you for so long now. In these first few days of spring, that image finally seems to be in sight.
KEY REOPENING DATES
New Yorkers across our state have made major progress lowering the positivity rate, and the State government is now allowing more venues and non-profits to reopen. We want to keep you informed about what is opening.
As of this week, the social gathering limits changed as follows:
• Public spaces:
○ Indoors: 100 people
○ Outdoors: 200 people
○ Indoors: 10 people
○ Outdoors: 25 people
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.
Indoor fitness classes and dance studios can also begin reopening statewide at 33% capacity with health screening and contact information required at sign-in. Classes should be scheduled to allow additional time for cleaning and disinfection between sessions. Local health departments shall inspect before or within 2 weeks of the fitness center opening to ensure compliance. See Governor’s announcement for more details.
Starting yesterday, March 26, indoor family and entertainment centers and places of amusement can reopen at 25% capacity. Centers 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.
Starting April 1, large performing arts and sports venues can 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. See Governor’s announcement for more details.
Starting April 2, event, arts, and entertainment venues can reopen at 33 percent capacity, up to 100 people indoors and up to 200 people outdoors. If all attendees present proof of negative test prior to entry, capacity can increase up to 150 people indoors and up to 500 people outdoors. Social distancing and face coverings will be required by all attendees, as well as strict adherence to all applicable NYS Department of Health guidance. Additional guidance will be available on the NY Forward website.
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.
Also this week, the NYC Department of Transportation released the 2021 application for our Open Streets program, which allows communities to dedicate roadway space to pedestrians and cyclists. Interested businesses and community partners can learn more and apply now at www.nyc.gov/openstreets.
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.
On Wednesday, March 31, from 3-4 pm the Mayor's Office of Media & Entertainment (MOME) and the New York City Health Department will host a COVID-19 Vaccine Town Call for Arts, Entertainment & Nightlife Community. We will share an update on the COVID-19 virus in New York City and share information about the COVID-19 vaccines. Register here.
President Biden has directed all states, Tribes, and territories to make all adults eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine no later than May 1st. For information about who is currently 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 vaccinefinder.nyc.gov or by calling 877-VAX-4NYC (1-877-829-4692). Visit here for information about proof of eligibility.
Vaccine for All Corps is hiring 2,000 New Yorkers to support vaccination efforts across the five boroughs. Recruitment for Vaccine for All Corps jobs is led by the Workforce1 Career Center System operated by the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS), targeting candidates from the communities hit hardest by COVID-19. No healthcare experience is required for many of these positions, which include roles in site management, operations, and client services, in addition to clinical roles. More information is available at nyc.gov/vaccinejobs.
Other ways to stay connected:
• Health Department Community Conversations: nyc.gov/vaccinecommunityconversations
• Health Department Vaccine Train the Trainer (regular weekly sessions open to the public: nyc.gov/vaccinetrainthetrainer
• Health Department Newsletter Sign-up: nyc.gov/covid19updates
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.
Domestic travelers to New York State who have been fully vaccinated are exempt from state quarantine requirements for 90 days after receiving their full vaccination. Beginning April 1, domestic travelers will no longer be 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 the 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.
• 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 nyc.gov/PPP 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:
ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
On Tuesday, March 30, the SBA will offer a webinar on the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program. The SVOG program provides emergency assistance for eligible venues affected by COVID-19. The webinar will provide information on how to apply, what documentation eligible entities will need, and offer insight on what the SVOG application process will look like. Register here. Applications will open Thursday, April 8. To receive an alert when the application opens, sign up here.
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.
Soon, the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment will be providing sample posters specifically for Open Culture participants. Until then, visit the NYC Health Department’s website for general business posters.
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 onset, 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.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS
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 https://on.nyc.gov/2DlH4sT 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 www.nyc.gov/nightlife.
Ron Terner's Focal Point Gallery, City Island's oldest business is bringing back its artists exhibitions, with live music outside, The City Island Chamber returns with their annual Arts and Crafts Fair, and new businesses are now opening up along The Avenue.