Music venues around the United States will be showing their support of the Restart Act on Tuesday night (September 1) by illuminating their buildings and marquees in red light.
Per Billboard, this was organized by #WeMakeEvents coalition to spread awareness of how many venues are in dire need of financial relief due to being shuttered since March because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Over 1,500 venues in the United States and Canada are expected to take part in this demonstration.
The Restart Act was first introduced in the United States Senate in May and “…extends the Paycheck Protection Program, established to support small businesses in response to COVID-19, for certain businesses, and it establishes a loan program whereby the Small Business Administration (SBA) shall guarantee loan amounts to certain businesses affected by COVID-19.” An identical bill was introduced in the United States House of Representatives in July. The bill has bipartisan support in both the Senate and the House.
So far, there has not been a scheduled vote for either version of the bill in either the Senate or the House.
In July, the Save Our Stages Act, another piece of legislation that specifically provides relief to independent concert venues, was also introduced into the Senate. The bill would “…authorize the appropriation of $10 billion for SBA grants of up to the lesser of 45 percent of operation costs or $12 million of 2019 operational costs.” An identical bill was introduced in the House five days after being introduced in the Senate. So far, no updates on either bill pertaining to sending the legislation to a vote of any kind have been made.
In June, the National Independent Venue Association sent a letter to Congress that was signed by over 600 musicians and entertainers asking for federal assistance because, “90% of independent venues report that if the shutdown lasts six months and there’s no federal assistance, they will never reopen again.”