The official citywide shutdown of bars and restaurants was still a couple of days away, but the owners of Ridgewood music venue Nowadays decided to call it. They emailed their followers a sober announcement on Friday, March 13th that Nowadays would be closing temporarily “out of concern for the safety of our staff, our guests and wider community.”

But the venue wouldn’t be completely closed off to the public for long. A few hours later, another message went out announcing that Nowadays had partnered with Williamsburg-based Internet radio station The Lot to set up a streaming platform to broadcast live DJ sets, workshops and other content each evening, along with a chat room for those tuning in. It’s not quite the same as dancing all night amid Nowadays’ signature hanging plants and mood lighting, or trooping out with a group of friends to the venue’s sprawling backyard -- but it’s something.

Below the livestream, Nowadays posted links to its Patreon and a Venmo account set up to support “all of our staff members who express a need."

With New York City nightlife indefinitely canceled, the venues, musicians, and other workers it supported are coming together to try to figure out new ways to reach audiences and generate revenue. In addition to funds set up by individual venues, the NYC Low-Income Artist/Freelancer Relief Fund on GoFundMe had brought in $62,499 from 764 donors as of Wednesday morning. Meanwhile, NYC Noise has shifted from offering a daily, curated list of local shows to endorsing online concerts and DJ sets from mostly local artists, along with links to individual Bandcamp pages, Patreons, and Venmo and PayPal accounts.

“It’s been pretty heartening to see people reaching out to each other who are vulnerable themselves and maybe don’t have any work coming up and to watch them say, ‘Hey, how can I help you?’” says Justin Carter, a co-founder of Nowadays, who is also a DJ and musician. “Seeing that in my social media feeds is just so beautiful to me.”

But Nowadays still faces an existential threat. “We know we don’t have long to survive if we have to keep paying rent while we’re closed and we can’t find other means of income,” says Carter, who declined to share how much he pays in monthly rent. “We’ve raised a decent amount on Patreon but not nearly enough to cover monthly expenses.”

Jessica Hallock, who runs NYC Noise and knows many of the musicians she promotes, says she also fears artists whose incomes were already precarious will ultimately be pushed out of New York. “The DIY ethos is like bootstrapping,” she said, “but that’s not what I believe in at the systemic level. We also need broader government initiatives.”

While online performances and mutual aid may be one part of how New York City nightlife survives the coronavirus pandemic, many acknowledge that these won’t take the place of government measures such as residential and commercial rent relief--especially when many of the people tuning in and donating are struggling themselves.

“We can’t keep sending each other the same $20 back and forth,” said Eva Lawitts, a bassist and singer who is losing all of the income she expected from upcoming tour dates, music lessons, and bookings at her Gowanus recording studio as a result of coronavirus.

“The eviction halt was good but it doesn’t solve the problem,” said Lawitts. She said some artists offered to buy sessions in advance to help keep the recording studio afloat, but she told them to hold onto their money.

In a post on Instagram, Lawitts addressed others in a similar position, saying she didn’t see anything wrong with people offering services online for reduced rates or encouraging people to buy merch to boost their income. “But I think if everyone who is composing a memo about offering remote services also called 311 and Cuomo’s office…and made their voice heard that we need a moratorium on rent payments both residential and commercial, it might make a difference!”

State lawmakers have introduced a bill to waive rent for three months for residential tenants and small businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19, as well as mortgage payments for some landlords. But Governor Andrew Cuomo has yet to lend the measure his support.

Rent relief was among the core demands in a letter the NYC Artist Coalition sent to Senator Chuck Schumer, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio regarding COVID-19 last week. Some of the other asks, such as an extension of unemployment benefits to cover independent contractors and greater access to small business loans and grants, have since been addressed in some form in the $2 trillion stimulus package the Senate passed this week. The package also includes a one-time payment of $1,200 to most individuals making up to $75,000 a year.

NYC Small Business Services is offering its own grants to businesses with five employees or fewer, while businesses with up to 100 employees can apply for a zero-interest loan of up to $75,000.

Some venue owners say they’re reluctant to take on loans without any assurance they can recoup lost revenue in the future, though.

“Who knows what the status of this business will be when this is all over,” said Carter. “Will anyone have any money to spend?”

While waiting on government support, some are looking to grow and consolidate grassroots relief funds -- an effort that was discussed at a virtual NYC Artist Coalition meeting with 100 participants last Monday.

Diana Mora, the owner of Crown Heights club Friends and Lovers, shared at the meeting that she already set up funds for the venue’s DJs (Patreon subscribers get access to exclusive DJ mixes) and staff. But she’s also looking to partner with a nonprofit that can administer a more cohesive fund for small businesses so that she can solicit and fairly distribute larger donations. She noted that liquor brands like Jack Daniels and Hennessy would be good companies to ask for donations.

“I made those brands a lot of money last year,” said Mora.

The NYC Artist Coalition has also suggested that streaming platforms such as Youtube and Facebook that “stand to see windfall profits during this crisis” should be made to donate 5 percent of that windfall to an emergency relief fund for affected musicians and related tech workers.

For now, some are finding comfort and community online. Monday’s NYC Noise rundown highlighted sets on The Lot, Nowadays, and the newly established Post World Radio (which streams endearingly messy bedroom sets on Instagram Live) as well as a full-day lineup of artists on the New Brunswick-based indie label Don Giovanni Records’ Instagram page, and a virtual happy hour with the Jazz Gallery in Manhattan.

Hallock says she’s trying to take into consideration more than just her musical tastes when deciding what to promote. “It’s a combination of wanting to boost artists who are great and wanting to support those who are in financial need.”