The United States Congress recently passed a new COVID relief bill that includes funding for independent music venues and theaters forced to shut down due to the pandemic.
USA Today reports the relief package includes the Save Our Stages Act, first introduced by Senators John Cornyn of Texas and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. The act asks for six months of financial support to “keep venues afloat, pay employees, and preserve a critical economic sector for communities across America.”
While the language of the bill has yet to be released, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer issued a statement noting the bill includes “$15 billion in dedicated funding for live venues, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions.”
Speaking on the floor of the Senate, Schumer said, “I’m especially pleased this bill will provide money for bars and restaurants and $15 billion in SPA grants for theater operators and small venue operators through the Save Our Stages Act. These venues are so important to my state and so many other states across the country. They are the lifeblood of our communities. They were the first to close and will be the last to open. This bill gives them a fighting chance.”
“We secured the Save Our Stages Act for indie music venues, Broadway, comedy clubs, indie movie theaters, and more,” Schumer wrote on Twitter Sunday night. “These are people’s jobs and livelihoods, and they need this help now. I won’t stop fighting for them.”
The new relief package also includes a $600 stimulus check to every US adult and $600 for each of their dependents; enhanced unemployment benefits; and paycheck protection program eligibility for local newspapers, television, and radio broadcasters.