Letter to Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, and Kevin McCarthy, Minority Leader - Congressmen Cleaver & Williams Lead Bipartisan Call To Support Live Entertainment Venues During Coronavirus Crisis
Dear Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader McCarthy:
We write to bring your attention to challenges facing the live entertainment industry and to ask for targeted legislative action as Congress works on additional economic relief legislation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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 months away. Until that time, live event venues will remain shuttered, leaving employees without jobs and businesses without revenue. The continued closures will impact the hundreds of contractors, suppliers, and business partners that support the live entertainment industry in our states and districts.
Each year, thousands of independent venues host millions of events, staffed by hundreds of thousands of employees, and attended by hundreds of millions of concertgoers across all walks of life. These entertainment hubs are important economic multipliers for our local economies, generating millions in tax revenue and providing quality jobs. The business generated by our industry supports countless neighboring businesses such as restaurants, hotels, and retail. One Chicago impact report estimated that for every $1 spent on a ticket, a total of $12 in economic activity was generated.
Unfortunately, once venues are permitted to reopen, it will take months for the industry to return to usual schedules. Tour artists have an intricate and complicated process of planning, scheduling, and tour routing, making a quick restart near impossible. Despite being necessary to prevent the spread of COVID 19, new federal, state, and local capacity limitations and other restrictions will likely inhibit the live entertainment industry's ability to recover for years. We are concerned that even if these entertainment venues are able to withstand the shutdowns, they will not be economically viable operating at 25 or 50 percent occupancy.
We have taken swift action to support the economy, but the programs we have enacted provide little relief to independent venues and promoters. Short-term disruption assistance has provided a lifeline for millions of Americans, but businesses that face prolonged closure also need help. Without assistance targeted to their unique situation, venue workers, artists, and our local
communities face an unprecedented crisis. We support providing government funding, tax relief measures, and assistance to mitigate the continued financial impacts on mom and pop venues across the country.
These venues support the economies of communities across the country, are a crucial component of the music industry's ecosystem, and serve as incubators and launch pads for the most popular talent in the world. We can provide a vital lifeline for the industry that will help to sustain the iconic venues that are central to the social, cultural, and economic fabric of so many of our communities. This industry is not going to make it without our help.
Thank you for your consideration of this request, and we look forward to working with you to provide necessary relief to live venue operators across the country.