Today, Donald Trump halted all negotiations with Congress regarding further COVID-19 relief until after the election. The abrupt political move, which comes across like the actions of a manic drugged up on steroids, will undoubtedly impose even more financial hardship on a country that’s already months-deep into an economic crisis.
The National Independent Venue Association, having already suffered major losses the last few months — including the shuttering of Washington, DC’s iconic U Street Music Hall just yesterday — has now responded to Trump’s decision.
“We have been sounding the alarm since April that if our members don’t get emergency assistance, they will go under forever — and it’s happening,” said Audrey Fix Schaefer, director of communications for NIVA. “This is real. We need help.”
The urgent statement continued,
“We urge Congress and the White House to continue negotiations and reach a deal quickly or there will be a mass collapse of this industry. The Save Our Stages Act has already passed the House and has strong bipartisan support with more than 160 Congresspeople cosponsoring because they know independent venues can be part of our country’s economic renewal once it’s safe to welcome people back — if our venues can survive this pandemic. We’re also hoping for the sake of our furloughed employees that the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance will be extended, as people are suffering through no fault of their own.”
NIVA was formed earlier this year in response to the pandemic and represents roughly 2,800 venues from all over the US. The organization was one of the main proponents of the “Save Our Stages Act”, a bipartisan bill that guarantees six months of financial support to “keep venues afloat, pay employees, and preserve a critical economic sector for communities across America.”
The House of Representatives successfully passed the “Save Our Stages Act” just last Friday, agreeing to set aside a potentially industry-saving $10 billion dollars for the independent venue community. However, the Senate won’t get a chance to weigh in due to Trump’s shutdown of all coronavirus relief negotiations. Without proper financial aid, it’s estimated that 90% of independent music venues could close for good.