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UPDATED: Congress Passes COVID-19 Relief Package Granting $15 Billion To Live Event Venues

UPDATE: Very late yesterday evening, the U.S. Congress did, indeed, pass the massive omnibus package, including another round of COVID-19 relief. Thus, once President Trump signs the legislation, The Save Our Stages Act, which was included in the package, will become law.

Shortly after passage, the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) issued a statement recognizing particular members of Congress—Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) in the Senate, and Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) and Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX) in the House—who sponsored the act. Moreover, NIVA credited Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), along with 230 bipartisan cosponsors in Congress. The final, just-passed legislation provides critical help to shuttered businesses by providing a grant equal to 45 percent of gross revenue from 2019, with a cap of $10 million per entity. This grant funding will ensure recipients can stay afloat until reopening by helping with expenses like payroll and benefits, rent and mortgage, utilities, insurance, personal protective equipment (PPE), and other ordinary and necessary business expenses, NIVA wrote.

“This is the lifeline our industry so desperately needs to emerge from a devastating year,” Dayna Frank, Owner and CEO, First Avenue Productions and Board President of NIVA, declared. “Without independent venues and promoters across the country working to engage their communities, staff and artists, our voices would not have been heard. We are thankful for those tireless efforts. Careers came to a standstill overnight, and people continue to face personal hardships, which is why legislation like this and extending Pandemic Unemployment Assistance is essential.”

Final-passage votes in both chambers were landslides in favor, thus underscoring lawmakers’ recognition that help was desperately needed.

See original story below:

Following months of negotiating, the United States Congress appears poised to pass a second novel coronavirus (COVID-19) relief package that, if made law, will appropriate $15 billion for independent event venues, such as movie theaters and concert sites. This is because the Save Our Stages Act, which strives to keep these types of businesses afloat by offering six months’ worth of funding, is part of the combined package. Per Consequence of Sound, individual venues “would be provided grants accounting for either 45% of a business’ operation costs from the previous year or $10 million in total—whichever is the lesser amount.”

With live events more or less at a standstill due to the health crisis, the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) has been pushing for relief for event venues for months. Around 90 percent of the association’s members are close to shutting down permanently without government assistance. The Save Our Stages Act strives to prevent that as much as possible.

“We’re thrilled that Congress has heard the call of shuttered independent venues across the country and provided us a crucial lifeline by including the Save Our Stages Act in the COVID-19 Relief Bill,” NIVA wrote in a statement shared to Twitter. “We’re also incredibly grateful that this bill provides Pandemic Unemployment Assistance which will help the millions of people who lost their jobs through no fault of their own during this economic crisis. We urge swift passage of this legislation, which will assist those in the greatest need and ensure the music lives on for generations to come.”

This is a developing story. Updates will be made as events, including final bill passage and signing into law, warrant them.

For more updates from Sound & Communications, click here.

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