Friday, April 16, 2021

COVID-19 congressional relief bill includes $ 15 billion for Broadway, small music venues and theaters

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After more than nine months of empty stages, concert halls and theaters in the United States – as well as independent theaters – appear to be heading for much-needed relief to the tune of $ 15 billion.

This aid, called the Save Our Stages Act, is part of the $ 900 billion COVID-19 relief package announced on Sunday. At noon Monday, lawmakers were rushing to finalize the legislation to send it to President Trump’s office before government funding ceased at midnight. The money set aside for the Save Our Stages Act would help concert halls and theaters, independent cinemas and other cultural institutions.

“These are the jobs and the livelihoods of the people, and they need this help now,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.). Twitter.

the relief bill, written last summer by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), garnered kudos from various sources, including the National Independent Venue Association, known as NIVA ( who had been pushing for it helps for months), and an array of celebrities, like comedian Jerry Seinfeld.

“Independent sites were among the first establishments to close and will likely be among the last to open,” Klobuchar said. “I refuse to sit still and let the music die, which is why I was proud to introduce the bipartisan Save our Stages Act.”

Even as vaccines to prevent COVID-19 infection begin to reach citizens, the performing arts industry faces a long slog, with unanswered questions about resuming live performances, among others. . Continuing pain almost certainly awaits.

For example, Broadway theater productions, which in 2019 impacted the economy by $ 12.6 billion and supported tens of thousands of jobs, according to the New York State Department of Labor, will be dark until at least the end of May 2021.

NIVA recently said that 90% of independent sites nationwide could shut down permanently and quickly without federal help. Billboard published a current list concert halls that closed permanently due to their dark stages during the pandemic, including icons such as Copacabana in New York and the Douglas Corner Cafe in Nashville. And although some large cinemas have reopened, they have done so at reduced capacity. Until there, box office revenues are down 80% from 2019 levels, according to Hollywood Reporter.

The larger relief package will give most Americans a $ 600 stimulus check. The bill also provides enhanced unemployment payments of $ 300 per week to most unemployed Americans. The $ 900 billion stimulus package is well below the $ 2.2 trillion CARES law passed in March.

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