COVID relief package to assist Upstate NY performing arts and entertainment industries

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWTI) — The COVID relief package is set to help support “some of the hardest hit industries” including live entertainment, performing arts and visual art industries, in Upstate New York.

Senator Charles Schumer has announced that the national COVID relief package includes the Save Our Stages Act; to support independent live venues, independent movie theaters and cultural institutions in New York State.

According to Schumer, the Save Out Stages Act is set to provide $15 billion nationally for these industries. On a state level, funding will provide temporary relief to venues, employees, promoters, managers, producers and entertainers.

Locally, the Town Hall Theater Owners in Lowville, New York, Patrick and Patricia O’Brien, spoke to how this funding is crucial for the theaters survival.

“The Save Our Stages effort by Chuck Schumer and Amy Klobuchar and others was absolutely necessary. Our small town, single screen 685 seat movie theater will have been shutter by COVID restrictions a full year in March of 2021,” stated Patrick and Patricia O’Brien. “We believe the movie industry will come back but it will take a while. Awhile without support would likely be too long of a wait for most venues, big or small. This is good news for both music and movie venues. Very much appreciated and needed.”

Schumer stated specifically that this funding will be drawn from a new Small Business Administration grant program. To be eligible for this funding, entities must report a 25% revenue loss due to COVID-19. Grant funding through the new SBA program is designed to provide six months of financial support.

Funding could cover costs such as rent, utilities, mortgage, maintenance, PPE procurement and expenditures related to meeting state, local or federal social distancing guidelines.

Senator Schumer commented on this funding opportunity for Upstate, New York.

“Independent venues, like theaters and concert halls, are the beating heart of New York’s cultural life and a driving force in the Upstate economy,” said Senator Schumer. “These local businesses were among the first to shut down at the start of the pandemic, are struggling to stay afloat, and will be among the last to reopen. The COVID package that I helped negotiate, prioritizes the venues and everyone who supports them as the critical cultural hubs that they are.”

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