After many months of campaigning by the National Independent Venue Association, artists, promoters, and venue owners across the country, the Save Our Stages Act has officially been added to the proposed Heroes Act, the newest relief effort put before the House of Representatives.
The Save Our Stages Act would provide over $10 billion in much-needed financial relief to venues across the country, and is part of the relief package proposed by a bipartisan coalition of congresspeople. The venue relief bill was originally drafted by Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), the Heroes Act has since been sponsored by Representatives Peter Welch (D-VT) and Roger Williams (R-TX).
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The Save Our Stages Act is just a mere morsel of the overall Heroes Act which, if passed, would secure $2.2 trillion for persons and entire industries affected by COVID-19. Among other relief efforts would be another round of stimulus checks for families as well as PPP loans for businesses. In addition to live music venues, the bill also specifically targets the restaurant industry, both of which suffered from gaps in the initial relief package.
“We’re incredibly grateful that this piece of legislation encompasses the provisions of the bipartisan Save Our Stages Act,” Audrey Fix Schaefer, communications director for NIVA, said in a statement.
If passed, the Act would open up $10 billion in grants to independent venue operators, grants which would not need to be paid back but can only be spent on “specified expenses such as payroll costs, rent, utilities, and personal protective equipment.” Venues will be able to apply for a grant up to $12 million, as well as a second grant equal to 50 percent of the initial grant. The money will not be limited to just venue owners and operators, and will include “producers, promoters, or talent representatives to address the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on certain live venues.”
Fix Schaefer continued,
We hope our elected officials come together on COVID-19 assistance in the coming days, not weeks or even months. Our small, independent businesses, which normally contribute billions of dollars to local economies, are on the precipice of mass collapse if this critical funding doesn’t come through. We’re cautiously optimistic our elected officials understand that if they assist us now, we can be part of the economic renewal of small towns and big cities, since for every $1 spent on a concert ticket at a small venue, $12 of economic activity is generated for area businesses like restaurants, retail shops, and hotels. This investment will pay off for communities and workers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
The bill must first go to the House floor for a vote before moving onto consideration by the Senate. Congress will soon return home and begin its October break ahead of the elections. For a one-page summary of the revised Heroes Act click here, or to see a more detailed 87-page summary of the revisions click here.