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COVID-19

Shuttered venue owners say federal aid could be a curtain raiser

Samantha Fields Mar 12, 2021
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None of the recent federal aid has been distributed yet. But the fact that it’s been approved has the industry hopeful. Pictured: The iconic Metro concert venue sits empty in Chicago, Illinois, on Dec. 29, 2020. Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP via Getty Images
COVID-19

Shuttered venue owners say federal aid could be a curtain raiser

Samantha Fields Mar 12, 2021
Heard on:
None of the recent federal aid has been distributed yet. But the fact that it’s been approved has the industry hopeful. Pictured: The iconic Metro concert venue sits empty in Chicago, Illinois, on Dec. 29, 2020. Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP via Getty Images
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In the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief measure is $1.25 billion for concert venues, theaters and other spaces that do live events. That will be added to the $15 billion Congress approved in December for “Shuttered Venue Operators Grants.”

None of that money has been distributed yet. But the fact that it’s been approved has the industry hopeful.

It’s been a whole year since the Rebel Lounge in Phoenix, Arizona, last held a concert. “We’re talking 12 months of 0% revenue,” said Stephen Chilton, who owns the rock ’n’ roll club.

He said he’s been able to hang on because he knows this help is on the way.

“The fact that there is federal aid coming is what’s allowed venues to take on debt, sell assets, empty retirement accounts,” Chilton said — and convince landlords and creditors to work with them.

Audrey Fix Schaefer at the National Independent Venue Association estimated that several hundred venues have closed permanently. But she said the more than $16 billion in federal aid should help many of the rest survive.

“I can’t wait to get in a room that is so filled with people, to hear a band that they really care about, and have that sense of family and community again,” Schaefer said.

When that will be, she said, depends on this federal aid getting to venues and on the vaccine rollout.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What do vaccines mean for economic recovery?

COVID-19 is not going anywhere anytime soon, according to expert witnesses who testified at a recent hearing held by the Joint Economic Committee. Put simply, we can’t eradicate the virus because it infects other species, and there will also be folks who choose not to get the vaccine or don’t mount an immune response, according to Dr. Céline Gounder at NYU School of Medicine & Bellevue Hospital. “That means we can’t only rely on vaccination,” Gounder said. She said the four phases of recovering from the pandemic are ending the emergency, relaxing mitigation measures, getting to herd immunity and having long-term control.

Can businesses deny you entry if you don’t have a vaccine passport?

As more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the economy begins reopening, some businesses are requiring proof of vaccination to enter their premises. The concept of a vaccine passport has raised ethical questions about data privacy and potential discrimination against the unvaccinated. However, legal experts say businesses have the right to deny entrance to those who can’t show proof.

What do I need to know about tax season this year?

Glad you asked! We have a whole separate FAQ section on that. Some quick hits: The deadline has been extended from April 15 to May 17 for individuals. Also, millions of people received unemployment benefits in 2020 — up to $10,200 of which will now be tax-free for those with an adjusted gross income of less than $150,000. And, for those who filed before the American Rescue Plan passed, simply put, you do not need to file an amended return at the moment. Find answers to the rest of your questions here.

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