Senate holds hearing on theater and entertainment aid
(Nation Now) – Like so many businesses, the industry involved in live concerts, Broadway shows, or other mass entertainment gatherings has seen a steep decline since March due to the coronavirus pandemic. On Monday, senators were told that the business is not only on the edge, it has fallen immediately.
Think about the last time you attended one of these live concerts, and well the pandemic has stopped the music.
95% of live events this year have been canceled or postponed, according to the industry which says it employs more than 10 million people.
Representatives of the company said Monday that 70% of its employees had lost 100% of their income: artists, hall and festival employees, artistic teams, production teams, salespeople and part-time employees who keep the show going. .
Ron Laffitte, president of Patriot Management, was one of many representatives who asked Congress for help targeted specifically at their industry so they could survive.
“All employees in this industry suffer, whether they work in small towns or large cities, whether they work in freelance places or in the larger arenas – no one has been immune,” said Laffitte.
They called for passage of the Save Our Stages bill, a law that would provide subsidies to producers, live event operators and theater owners. Democratic lawmakers are in favor, but so far the Republican-controlled Senate has not approved it.
Witnesses said further relief was needed, including the “restart” loan program that would extend the paycheck protection plan by four months.
Michael Strickland, owner of a lighting company, said the industry would be among the last to bounce back.
“A lot of the event industry won’t be back until the vaccine is installed and we have herd immunity, and it’s June, July, August, September, and it’s just wages, so what do we do for the rest of the time? ”Strickland said.
There appears to be bipartisan support for the industry, with several senators voicing their support, but like Democrat Jon Tester of Montana, there was also frustration that it takes so long to get something through.
“I don’t know if you’re frustrated because we keep doing nothing, but it frustrates me enormously,” Tester said.