As concert venues across the country have shuttered to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse are teaming up with U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Tom Carper (D-DE) and 39 colleagues in calling on Congress to help save locally-owned, independent concert venues — and the hundreds of thousands of employees that staff them — from going out of business. In a letter to Senate leadership, the bipartisan coalition of U.S. Senators wrote that the live music industry is likely to remain shuttered for months to come.
From Senator Reed’s office:
Rhode Island is an arts-centric community that is home to many great live, independent music venues of varying sizes and sounds. They contribute to the fabric of our communities and the economy. The government askes these venues to do the responsible thing and temporarily shut down. There is strong, bipartisan consensus that the federal government should now do its part to support these small, independent venues so they don’t go permanently silent. If only big corporate concert venues can survive this pandemic, it’d be a real blow to the arts, artists, workers, and the community.
From Senator Whitehouse:
Rhode Island’s vibrant arts scene adds much to our quality of life and to the local economy. It’s clear that performance venues will be among the last businesses to be able to reopen, and theaters need additional support if we want them to still be there once the days of social distancing are behind us.
Describing live music venues as economic multipliers, the bipartisan coalition of U.S. Senators noted, “This industry is not going to make it without our help.”
The U.S. Senators note that short-term disruption assistance won’t be enough to help independent music venues facing long-term disruption to their businesses and are calling for more support, including tax relief and debt assistance to help these local businesses survive the crisis.
In calling for federal assistance for independent live music venues in upcoming coronavirus relief legislation, the Senators wrote: “Live event venues were among the first to close as COVID-19 spread across the country, and they are likely to be among the last to reopen. Concerts and live events may not be possible until a vaccine is readily available to the public, which could be many months away, if not longer.”
I am pleasantly surprised that our senators have appreciated the dire situation facing this industry and recognizing their importance to the economy, and the soul, of the country.