Update on Reopening from the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment – October 16, 2020



Background image of Brooklyn Bridge. Text reads the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment, Supporting New York City's Creative Economy
Dear Friends,
Yesterday, Mayor de Blasio reported that COVID infection rates appear to be leveling off in the areas in Brooklyn and Queens that the State designated as Red, Orange and Yellow zones. Nevertheless heightened restrictions remain in effect in these zones. To find out where the zones are, and to see what restrictions apply to each zone, please visit www.nyc.gov/covidzone.

And whether you are in a designated zone or not, we remind everyone to continue to follow the core four—wear a mask, wash your hands, practice social distancing, stay home if you’re sick—and get tested! For more information on free testing, personal protective equipment and more, please visit the NYC Mayor’s Office Coronavirus page.

At the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME), we recognize the significant challenges so many of our businesses and workers are facing. We continue to work with our colleagues in government to do whatever we can to help and keep you informed about new developments.

This week, Mayor de Blasio issued Emergency Executive Order No. 153 authorizing restaurants, bars, and other establishments participating in the Open Restaurants Program to utilize temporary outdoor heaters in their outdoor dining areas. The City released guidelines which include three options for the use of heating devices:
•  Electric radiant heaters will be allowed in sidewalk and roadway seating setups. For full guidance from the Department of Buildings, click here.
•  Natural gas radiant heaters will be allowed on the sidewalk only. For full guidance from the Department of Buildings, click here. Natural gas radiant heaters must also comply with the Fire Code.
• Portable heaters fueled by propane will be allowed on the sidewalk only. Propane heating will be regulated by the Fire Department, with requirements for safe handling, use and storage. For full guidance from the Fire Department, click here.
In addition, starting today, Friday, October 16, most restaurants and bars will be allowed to add a Covid-19 Recovery Charge to their bills. Businesses are not required to implement the charge; it is optional. In other parts of the country surcharges of this type have helped businesses sustain operations and pay for added expenses like personal protective equipment and outdoor dining equipment. The restrictions on this charge as are as follows:
•  Maximum of 10% of the total bill
•  Subject to sales tax
•  Cannot be added to takeout or delivery orders
•  Must be clearly disclosed in English and any other languages used on menus on all menu pages, chalkboards, and websites
•  Total amount of the charge must be clearly added to all receipts
•  Must be referred to as “COVID-19 Recovery Charge” or “COVID Charge”
•  This is not a gratuity, and that must be explained clearly
•  May not be used as an added charge for a banquet, special event or package deal
•  May not be added by a food service establishment that is part of a chain with 15 or more locations nationally
Next Tuesday, October 20th, 2020 from 12pm-1:30pm the Office of Nightlife will host a multi-agency Town Call for restaurants and bars on the City’s New Indoor/Outdoor Dining Guidelines & Regulations. Representatives from City agencies will provide information and answer questions about the latest indoor and outdoor dining rules and changes related to the extension of the Open Restaurants program. Topics include:
•  Health & Safety Guidelines (Department of Health and Mental Hygiene – DOHMH)
•  Outdoor Dining (Department of Transportation – DOT)
•  Business Resources (Department of Small Business Services – SBS)
•  Fines, Summons and Trials (Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings – OATH)
•  Inspections and Enforcement (Office of Special Enforcement – OSE)
•  Air Filtration and HVAC (Department of Buildings – DOB)
•  Outdoor Heaters (Fire Department – FDNY)
Advance registration required: bit.ly/diningtowncall
To assist businesses participating in outdoor dining, the Office of Nightlife has made the following guides and informational materials available for download at www.nyc.gov/nightlife:
The Office of Nightlife has also partnered with the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings’ Center for Creative Conflict Resolution to provide free mediation and conflict resolution services to address a number of neighborhood disputes while ensuring that small businesses thrive. MEND NYC helps address issues that may include:
         • Quality-of-life issues between residents and businesses
         • Negotiation between commercial tenants and landlords
         • Neighboring business to business misunderstandings
Design Corps: Small Business Reopening Network is an online directory where restaurants and venues can connect with licensed, trained designers and architects for free consulting and services to help improve their space and ensure compliance with outdoor dining requirements. For additional information on the Design Corps program please review the detailed guidelines.
Updated guidance for filming is posted on the Film Permit website. 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.

To assist productions with promoting safety protocols on set, the Film Office has produced a suite of graphics and posters available for download here.


While there are still certain limitations on event permits through December 31, 2020, we continue to work with agency partners to support safe, creative arrangements for community celebrations, performances, and activations throughout the city. Frequently asked questions about outdoor events permitting can be found here.

Guidance for group music activities, including live performances and music recording, in New York City during the COVID-19 public health emergency is now available on the MOME website. The music guidance synthesizes COVID-19-related safety requirements from numerous sources, including the New York State Department of Health, the Empire State Development Corporation, the State Liquor Authority, and other State and City laws. The guidance is presented in a plain-language format and includes links to information from other State and City government agencies.

New York State’s COVID-19 Travel Advisory remains in effect. Travelers from Level 2 and Level 3 countries (that’s all but 31 countries from across the globe), 36 states and Guam and Puerto Rico must provide local authorities with contact information and quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in New York. For more information, visit the New York State website at https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/ or call the New York State hotline at 888-364-3065.

* * *

MOME continues support and participate in a wide variety of events by and for our fellow New Yorkers in the creative economy.
•  The 8th Edition of the Chelsea Film Festival runs October 15-18 with a slate of 130 films viewable online.  There will also be panels, meet the filmmaker events, question and answer sessions and more.
•  The 32nd Annual New York LGBTQ+ Film Festival takes place October 16-27 with more than 120-plus films available. “Free To Be Me” offers films appropriate for high school students.
•  “Made in NY Talk” Media Literacy: How To Spot Fake News takes place October 20 at 6pm Learn from media thought-leaders as they discuss how to best check the content you consume for truth and accuracy before you share it. The “Made in NY Talks” series brings together industry leaders to share insight, information and news with New Yorkers looking to work in media and entertainment.
•  NYWIFT’s 2nd annual Creative Workforce Summit takes place October 20-23, with the theme of “Documentary Makers, Industry and Funders in Conversation.” This four-day, free virtual program consists of keynote speakers, panels, and film screenings, and brings together a diverse group of women in entertainment to mobilize support and leadership for change.
•  The 9th Annual Dominican Film Festival NYC will be online this year, October 20-30. This is the largest film festival outside the Dominican Republic itself to focus specifically on Dominican cinema. DFFNYC official program will include a roster of 70 films and offering a program boasting a wide range of genres, from comedy to thriller and drama to romance, plus an homage to the classics and panel discussions with the top leaders of the film industry.
•   The 13th Annual Bushwick Film Festival will take place virtually from Oct 21-25 and feature five days of virtual screenings, events and panels. The festival is committed to community building, empowering underrepresented storytellers, and increasing diversity in film.
At MOME, we recognize the significant challenges so many of our businesses and workers are facing. We continue to work with our colleagues in government to do whatever we can to help and keep you informed about new developments. 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 www.nyc.gov/mome.
As always, please feel free to reach out with any questions, concerns or for support.

Stay NYC strong,


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