Last July, Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Amy Klobuchar (D- Minnesota) and Representatives Peter Welch, (D-Vermont) and Roger Williams (R-Texas) introduced on Capitol Hill the Save our Stages act, a proposal to provide emergency financial assistance to live performance venues forced to close by the coronavirus pandemic. In the six months since its introduction, bi-partisan support for the measure has been building, culminating with it being included in the coronavirus stimulus bill which passed by Congress last week and now waiting for a presidential signature.
Along the way, the scope of businesses eligible for relief has expanded to include independent movie theatres, museums, zoos, and other “in-person entertainment” venues. Senator Klobuchar gave an interview this week to Variety Magazine to explain the provisions of the bill. The Small Business Administration will give grants equal to up to 47% of revenue from the pre-pandemic, 2019 period.
Initially, applications will be processed from those businesses that have suffered the steepest decline in revenues, and gradually expand to include others. Notably, the country’s largest exhibitors including #1-AMC, #2-Regal, and #3-Cinemark are not eligible for the relief under this program, which is targeted for support of small businesses. Studios also stand to gain, since wide theatrical releases have traditionally been an essential ingredient in the recipe for studios to recoup their large investments in making blockbuster films.
See also: Senator Amy Klobuchar Explains $15 Billion Save Our Stages Act (Variety)