Save Our Stages Act aims to help struggling venues stay afloat with Covid-19 funding
UNITED STATES – The curtain has closed on many venues because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Democratic Minnesota Senator Klobuchar and Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas introduced the Save Our Stages Act. It would provide six months worth of Small Business Administration grants to independent venues affected by Covid-19 stay-at-home orders. The legislation would fund either 45 percent of operational costs from 2019 or $12 million per venue.
Klobuchar hopes the bill will be put in the next Heroes Act package that passed in the House.
“One of the things that may be happening across the country is that if a bunch of small venues closed down, they will just be taken over by their competitors, by the big guys,” Klobuchar explained.
“It’s tough not only for these venues, it’s tough for the musicians. And, so, where you have a place that… This beautiful place like this and it’s got the right size and everything, we want to make sure we keep it going,” Democratic Congressman Collin Peterson of Minnesota said.
Moorhead Mayor Johnathan Judd says there were 475 events at Bluestem Amphitheater last year bringing in more than 82,000 people. He believes making places like this thrive will affect other areas as well.
“It’s going to help our hospitality industry who’s been adversely affected. It’s going to, really, help our restaurants. Getting people to enjoy everything that Moorhead and the state of Minnesota and this region has to offer,” Judd said.
Local businesses and nonprofits have felt the stress the pandemic has brought.
“We started this year with 16 full-time employees and approximately 300 part-time employees. We’re down to zero full-time employees, including myself,” Jade Presents President Jade Nielsen said.
“Our projected revenue loss for 2020 is $580,000,” Fargo Theatre Executive Director Emily Beck said.
Local leaders feel it’s time to put the spotlight on Congress to back the arts industry.
“If we can save our stages, it’s going to save our economy,” Judd said.
“It’s quiet right now, but when the time comes, the music will be back,” Beck said.
90 percent of venue owners, promoters and bookers report they are at risk of closing without financial assistance according to Klobuchar’s office.
Click here for more information on the Save Our Stages Act.