Congress agrees on COVID relief bill including the Save Our Stages Act for independent venues
After months of fighting, it looks like there's now hope for the independent music venues affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. It was revealed on Sunday that leaders in the House and Senate reached an agreement on the second stimulus package, which would provide $900 billion in pandemic relief, and that it would incorporate the Save Our Stages Act that the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) had been fighting for.
"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," said Dayna Frank, Owner & CEO, First Avenue Productions and Board President of NIVA, in a statement. "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."
The bill's official language has not yet been revealed, but Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer issued a statement saying that the they "have reached agreement with Republicans and the White House on an emergency coronavirus relief and omnibus package that delivers urgently needed funds to save the lives and livelihoods of the American people as the virus accelerates." The New York Times reports that Trump signed the measure shortly before midnight.
Chuck Schumer also spoke about the Save Our Stages Act on the floor of the Senate, saying, "I’m especially pleased this 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."
Schumer also tweeted, "We secured the #SaveOurStages Act for indie music venues, Broadway, comedy clubs, indie movie theaters, and more. These are people’s jobs and livelihoods, and they need this help now. I won’t stop fighting for them. #COVIDrelief."
That sounds like very good news! Stay tuned for any further updates.