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Live music venues learning how they can take advantage of COVID relief bill

3 years 5 months 2 days ago Tuesday, December 22 2020 Dec 22, 2020 December 22, 2020 7:55 PM December 22, 2020 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Things are quiet at performance venues across the nation and in the Capital City.

Owners who have hardly seen any revenue for months are holding their breath for a $15 billion stimulus for the entertainment industry.

"I'm hoping that there's some sustainable money there as opposed to a few dollars or a Band-Aid for a couple weeks salary for your one or two employees that you have," said music business entrepreneur, Henry Turner Jr.

Henry Turner Jr.'s Listening Room is one of the countless live music venues fighting to stay afloat during the pandemic.

"Since March, it's been a very bleak existence in terms of the club," Turner said.

The Save Our Stages Act included in the latest stimulus package would be a lifeline. It would cover about six months of eligible costs, including payroll, rent, and utilities.

Paul Arrigo with Visit Baton Rouge says this could be a game-changer for the tourism industry.

"This will get things back in line and get things back rolling," Arrigo said. "Hopefully, in conjunction with the vaccine, we'll be able to get things closer to normal."

Aside from a few successful fundraisers, the only thing many venues have done since March is livestream concerts.

While venue owners say they don't argue with the rules on mass gatherings, it has led to the closure of many across Louisiana.

"When people is your business, and people can't gather then that turns into zero productivity," Turner said.

The details of how that $15 billion will be distributed are still being ironed out, but venues could start receiving the money within the next few weeks.

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