Along with everyone else, we are following everchanging updates regarding COVID-19. Our focus is to continue to monitor and collect information about how the virus and concerns about it are affecting Times Square specifically, to synthesize and share relevant information from government and industry groups, and to keep calm and carry on within an uncertain and rapidly changing context.
Stay connected and alerted about emergency situations by following the NYC Office of Emergency Management.
New Yorkers are encouraged to text “Covid” to 692-692 for updates.
If you work at or own a business in Times Square and want to receive updates about business-oriented grants, resources, webinars, and more, make sure to sign up for our regular Stakeholder Updates.
Table of Contents:
Financial Relief Resources:
For the Arts Industry:
The Actors Fund is curates and updates a list of emergency financial assistance grants and other resources for artists and those in the arts industry.
The U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) has resumed taking new applications for its Economic Injury Disaster Loan program from all eligible businesses and nonprofits. As a reminder, eligible borrowers must have 500 or fewer employees and be able to prove COVID-19's effect on their business.
Empire State Development announced recently that Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) participants are now eligible to receive low-interest loans from the New York Forward Loan Fund (NYFLF). Small businesses, including small residential landlords and non-profits, that did not receive loans through the PPP are also still invited to apply.
Facebook has launched a $100M grant program to help small businesses cover workforce and operational costs.
NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS)
SBS has guides, guidelines, and more assistance for small businesses struggling during the pandemic, including free face coverings for your employees.
Courtesy Recycling Inspections from DSNY
The New York City Department of Sanitation has announced that it will extend the grace period for commercial recycling and organics enforcement through the end of November. During this period, DSNY will offer city businesses courtesy recycling and organics inspections with guidance and warnings, but no fines will be issued for non-compliance.
Neighborhood Challenge: Connect & Recover
The neighborhood challenge program is an online open innovation platform by the NYC Dept of Small Business Services to crowdsource local challenges, build upon those submitted by others, and facilitate collaboration with the tech community on implementing viable pilot projects. Initial challenge submissions for the storefront business campaign will be due by June 1st.
RXR Realty has launched RXRVolunteer, a platform to connect local non-profits and small businesses impacted by COVID-19 with volunteers from the RXR community of employees, tenants, vendors, partners, investors, and friends. Volunteers will have an opportunity to align their professional skills with the needs of individuals, non-profits, and small businesses to help support them through the immediate crises and beyond, and businesses and non-profits will benefit from the connection to high-skilled volunteers.
Other Business Resources:
Business Safety Plans for Re-Opening
If you haven't yet reopened your business but plan to, prepare to develop a written Safety Plan outlining how your business will prevent the spread of COVID-19. A business may fill out this template to fulfill the requirement, or may develop its own Safety Plan. This plan does not need to be submitted to a NYS agency for approval but must be retained on the premises of the business and must made available to the New York State Department of Health (DOH) or local health or safety authorities in the event of an inspection.
Hospitality Industry-Specific Resources:
Mayor Bill De Blasio has issued an executive order mandating that hotels and short-term rental companies have travelers from restricted states fill out the New York State Traveler Health Form before providing lodging.
The Department of Health is beginning to conduct modified restaurant inspections, which will be shorter, more limited in scope, and focused on education rather than on issuing a summons or a letter grade, with some exceptions.
As we move towards further phases of reopening, NYC & Company are asking tourism and hospitality businesses and their guests to take Stay Well NYC Pledge, backed by public health protocols, to help the five boroughs reopen responsibly.
Learn more about outdoor, takeout, and indoor food services:
Alcohol: The State Liquor Authority and the Governor have approved several temporary measures allowing businesses to deliver alcohol and return alcohol.
Donating food: The Food Education Fund, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is working to create a space to share resources on available food sources for families, collect information on possible food donations from organizations that will be suspending operations, and share general resources.
Alternative Marketing Opportunities:
- Are you a Times Square business or organization presenting virtual events? Let us know and we'll add your event to the calendar on our website.
- NYC&Co has rounded up online resources from museums, galleries, comedy clubs, theaters, and other venues so that you can experience the best of NYC virtually. Submit your venue's virtual experience too.
- Submit your business's e-commerce site to NYC&Co's Shop in NYC to enable patrons to continue shopping in the greatest shopping capital.
- The online publication The Skint is collecting open job listings. It doesn’t matter if the opportunity is remote, in-person, high tech, low tech, tech support, desk work, delivery, call center, or anything in between.
- Google is giving small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) worldwide $340 million in ad credits, which can be used towards future ad spending, until the end of 2020 across the Google Ads platforms.
- #SaveNYCEats: SaveNYCEats.com helps restaurants generate revenue to support their teams during this crisis. You can submit your restaurant to be listed at no cost and advertise your unique experiences, gift cards, chef kits, unique take-out offerings, and merchandise.
- Are you a NYC pet owner that has been impacted by COVID-19 and need assistance? Call the NYC Office of Emergency Management Animal Planning Taskforce at (877) 204-8821. The pet hotline is open 7 days per week 8am to 8pm ET.
- Are you an essential worker with young children? Staffed by Department of Education employees and community-based organization partners, the Regional Enrichment Centers provide children of essential workers with three daily hot meals, remote learning time with their teachers, activities like art, music, and physical education, and social and emotional support.
- Do you have a business needing help with a commercial lease issue in New York City? You may be eligible for free legal services from SBS's Commercial Lease Assistance Program.
- The City Bar Justice Center COVID-19 Small Business Remote Legal Clinic is an opportunity for New York City’s entrepreneurs and small businesses who have suffered adversely from the impact of the COVID-19 crisis to receive free, limited-scope legal advice.
Updates on Closings and New Regulations
New York City is currently in Phase IV of reopening.
Outdoor dining at restaurants is allowed, with many restaurants expanding outdoor seating temporarily through the citywide, multiphase Open Restaurants program.
Indoor dining has also reopened under specific guidelines, with capacity limited to no more than 25% of maximum occupancy and a minimum of 6 feet, or barriers, between tables.
However, beginning Friday, November 13, any establishment with a state liquor license, including bars and restaurants, must close at 10pm. Gyms must also close at 10pm.
All travelers entering New York from a non-border state must fill out the Traveler Health Form. All travelers entering New York from a state that's not a contiguous state, or from a CDC Level 2 or 3 Travel Health Notice country, must either quarantine for 14 days or "test out" according to the following guidelines:
For travelers who were out-of-state for more than 24 hours:
- Travelers must obtain a test within three days of departure, prior to arrival in New York.
- The traveler must, upon arrival in New York, quarantine for three days.
- On day 4 of their quarantine, the traveler must obtain another COVID test. If both tests comes back negative, the traveler may exit quarantine early upon receipt of the second negative diagnostic test.
For travelers who were out-of-state for less than 24 hours:
- The traveler does not need a test prior to their departure from the other state, and does not need to quarantine upon arrival in New York State.
- However, the traveler must fill out our traveler form upon entry into New York State, and take a COVID diagnostic test 4 days after their arrival in New York.
Essential workers are exempt.
All Broadway Performances Suspended
Broadway shows in New York City have suspended all performances through the May 30, 2021. Contact your point of purchase if you have a ticket for a show before this date.
Telecharge: Your tickets will be automatically refunded back to your credit card. If you bought tickets at a box office with a credit card, your tickets will also be automatically refunded back to your card.
Ticketmaster: Ticketmaster will automatically generate a full refund to the original point of purchase.
TodayTix: If you have a ticket to any cancelled show in NYC, you will be given a TodayTix voucher worth 110% of your original order. The vouchers will be worth 110% of your original order total and will be valid for one year.
TDF: TDF will automatically issue refunds for any canceled performance to the original form of payment. All three TKTS by TDF booths will remain closed until Broadway performances resume.
Resources for Immigrants/Recursos para immigrantes
The following documents contain advice, resources and support options for immigrants living in New York City. / Los siguientes documentos contienen consejos, recursos y opciones de apoyo para inmigrantes que viven en la ciudad de Nueva York.
Stop the spread and help NYC recover by practicing these 5 steps: 1) Wash your hands, 2) practice social distancing, 3) wear a face covering, 4) stay home if you're sick, and 5) get tested regardless of symptoms. Free COVID-19 tests are confidential and safe. Go to NYC.Gov/COVIDTest or text "COVID TEST" to 855-48 to find a testing site near you. Most results are returned in about 3 to 5 days. Be sure to answer any calls from NYC Test+Trace or (212) numbers to get free resources and support.
From the NYC Department of Health:
- Stay home. All New Yorkers — healthy or sick — need to stay home. You should only leave your home for essential tasks, such as work (if you cannot work from home), getting groceries and supplies or essential medical care. Try to use delivery services when possible.
- Wash your hands with soap and water often, for at least 20 seconds every time, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. (It must contain at least 60% alcohol.)
- Do not touch your face unless you recently washed your hands.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when sneezing or coughing. Do not use your hands.
- Do not shake hands. Instead, wave or elbow bump.
- If you are an older adult or have any chronic health conditions such as lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, or a weakened immune system, avoid all unnecessary gatherings and events.
Avoiding Crowds in NYC:
- Orders from the Governor require every New Yorker to stay at home from work, unless they are an essential worker. All non-essential businesses that are normally open to the public must remain closed.
- Walk or bike to work, if possible and if you can't work from home.
- If you need to take the train or bus and it is too crowded, wait for the next one.
If You Are Sick, Stay Home:
- If you are sick, stay home. If you do not feel better in three to four days, consult your health care provider. Try to call, text, telemedicine or use your patient portal to contact your physician.
- Avoid the emergency department and other places you seek healthcare if you are not severely ill. Stay home and keep healthcare access available for others with more severe illness.
- If you need help getting medical care, call 311. You can get care in NYC regardless of immigration status or ability to pay.
- If you have family or friends who are older adults or have chronic conditions, do not visit them if you feel sick.
- Stay home for seven days after your symptoms started and for three days after your fever has stopped without the use of fever-reducing drugs, such as Tylenol and ibuprofen, and your cough or sore throat symptoms have improved.
New Guidance on Face Coverings
People who do not show symptoms may still be able to spread COVID-19. A face covering can help prevent you from spreading COVID-19 to other people. An order from the Governor requires everyone to wear a face covering when outside their home and when they cannot practice physical distancing, such as maintaining 6 feet of distance from others.
Do not use medical grade masks, such as N95 or surgical masks, as those must be reserved for people in the health care system. Health care workers are at high risk for COVID-19 and need these masks to stay safe and keep serving New Yorkers who are very sick.
Even if you have a face covering, continue to stay home as much as possible and avoid close contact with other people.
Additional guidance from the Center for Disease Control:
Cover coughs and sneezes
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
- Throw used tissues in the trash.
- Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Clean and Disinfect:
- Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
- If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
From the MTA
If you need to use the subway to get to your job, the MTA has information about current service and the precautions they're taking.
The MTA has launched a new MTA Essential Plan Night Service to continue moving essential workers during the closure period, which includes an increase in overnight bus service.
As per the Governor's New York on PAUSE order, individuals should limit use of public transportation to when absolutely necessary and should limit potential exposure by spacing out at least six feet from other riders.
The MTA has announced a pilot program that will deploy approximately 150 dual-headed mobile devices from Denver-based startup PURO Lighting to test and evaluate the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of UVC technology in a number of settings across New York City Transit including trains, buses, stations and occupational facilities, using strict protocols and procedures to ensure the safety of the employees and customers. After evaluation, the pilot's second phase will expand to Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North.
How You Can Help
A number of organizations in the area and across New York are working their hardest to make sure that those in need are able to get help as we deal with the impact of business closings, layoffs or uncertain employment, lack of healthcare, illness, and more.
- Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS has a COVID-19 donation page to help those onstage and behind the scenes in the theater world get health care, emergency financial assistance and counseling during the pandemic.
- The Actors Fund provides emergency financial assistance and more to those working in the entertainment industry.
- Encore Community Services is providing take-out lunch and home delivered meal service for the elderly and homebound in Midtown. Donate through the link below, or email Jennifer Asquino at firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer to help deliver meals, Monday through Saturday.
- Project FIND is also providing take-out meals at all four of their senior centers. Their Woodstock location on 43rd Street will be providing breakfast and lunch. Project FIND is also doing outreach to all members to confirm they have what they need.
- Breaking Ground develops and sustains exceptional supportive and affordable housing as well as programs for homeless and other vulnerable New Yorkers in order to break the cycle of homelessness.
- Covenant House provides housing and supportive services to youth facing homelessness. They have identified accessible, safe quarantine space at each of their houses so they can care for any of their residents in social isolation if necessary.
- Other organizations like Food Bank of New York City and City Harvest are also continuing their work to make sure that New Yorkers in need have access to food, including working with local soup kitchens, food pantries, and other community food programs.
- The Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City has a special COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund to deliver hot meals to medical professionals; raise money for personal protective equipment for hospitals; and support health care workers, local businesses, displaced hourly workers, and other vulnerable New Yorkers.
- TDF is asking for donations to their Lifeline Campaign, as their primary stream of revenue has been closed with performance venues. They are hoping to raise $500,000 before June 30.
- In lieu of their regular senior center residency programs, which are paused due to the pandemic, Town Hall is inviting people to submit a piece of correspondence to be sent to one of their seniors. This can be in the form of a letter, a piece of art, a poem, etc.
- You can also help support local restaurants just by ordering contactless delivery/take-out from them, or buying gift cards to be used later.
Entertainment at a Distance
As everyone in the theater community knows, the show must go on... in a socially responsible way. Numerous performers and organizations have been putting on digital shows and performances, or making older performances available online, so that everyone staying home can still enjoy the incredible New York arts scene while being safe.
In addition to the options below, you can find a variety of virtual events on the What's Happening page.
Looking for an activity? Check out our Times Square coloring pages.
Time Out New York, Playbill, and Broadway Briefing have compiled lists of live streams and other theatrical events to watch from home:
This year's Broadway Backwards — the annual benefit performance where Broadway’s biggest stars and beloved legends share LGBTQ twists on classic and modern favorites — may have been cancelled, but Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS has put up a playlist of phenomenal performances from Broadway Backwards of the past:
Seth Rudetsky and his husband James Wesley are producing Stars in the House, a daily online mini-show featuring stars of stage and screen singing and performing live (from home!). The shows will take place every day at 2pm and 8pm.
Broadway World is presenting Living Room Concerts — performances direct to you live from the living rooms of Broadway performers!
The Metropolitan Opera is doing free nightly streams of past performances. If you've enjoyed their opening night live streams on Times Square's electronic billboards, make sure to check it out.
BroadwayHD is an ad-free streaming service with a library of hundreds of productions from Broadway, Off-Broadway, and more.
The New Victory Theater launched a digital seriesthis summer to help students and their families in the face of shutdowns across America due to the COVID-19 outbreak. “New Victory Arts Break” explored an art form each week, with one lesson for each school day. The programming was aimed at helping kids (and their parents) continue to develop new skills and stay active while schools are closed. Classes feature video demonstrations by New Victory Teaching Artists—a part of the theatre's effort to keep staff employed.