'Modern Family' actor on why Hollywood is more insulated from coronavirus crisis than restaurants

The coronavirus has disrupted multiple U.S. industries — and Hollywood is not immune.

Emmy award-winning actor Ty Burrell, who recently wrapped an 11-year run on ABC’s “Modern Family,” spoke about the impact in an interview with Yahoo Finance. He explained that although it’s a difficult time for entertainment, the industry is much more protected compared to other sectors.

“I will say that one of the differences between this and the food and beverage industry [for example] is that our world, as long as you’ve worked enough, is unionized — and there is some help there,” he said.

Hollywood unions applauded Congress’ passage of the $2 trillion stimulus package at the end of last month, which greatly expanded unemployment benefits for countless industry workers who lost their jobs as a result of increased coronavirus lockdowns and restrictions.

“This is creating an unusual situation in production going forward,” Burrell said, predicting that the industry could see a surge in animated content as the U.S. adheres to shelter-in-place orders in an attempt to flatten the curve.

So far, the coronavirus has upended production schedules, shuttered movie theaters and delayed highly-anticipated blockbusters with some reports suggesting the global box office could face a $20 billion hit.

“I think, no matter what, there's always a percentage of the population, even amongst those who are in the unions, that are really suffering right now,” the actor added.

Hollywood is at a standstill amid the coronavirus
Hollywood is at a standstill amid the coronavirus

And one industry that’s greatly suffered as a result of the pandemic has been the food and beverage space.

According to The National Restaurant Association, an estimated 5 million - 7 million U.S. restaurant workers could lose their jobs by June, with the overall industry expected to sustain a $225 billion loss.

Inspired by his early days as a server, Burrell has been doing his part to help unemployed restaurant and bar workers in Salt Lake City, as part of his new ‘Tip Your Server’ relief program. The goal is to provide $2,000 grants to employees of any Salt Lake City restaurant or bar who have been laid off due to COVID-19 closures.

Waiting tables at an early age, Burrell said he experienced first-hand “not only how hard the job is, but also how challenging unemployment is in that world. They’re mostly part-time so there are very few benefits,” he explained.

“When things go away, they really go away,” the actor added. Burrell and his wife, Holly, have made an initial contribution of $100,000 to the grant program.

“We still have a long way to go if we're going to try to get these checks to everybody [but] we're hopeful.”

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