Live entertainment, movie industries waiting for Congress to pass stimulus bill
While Congress grapples over a COVID-19 relief bill, the struggling live entertainment and movie theater industries are watching closely and hoping that they will be included.
Nearly nine months of empty seats, closures and limited-capacity reopenings have crushed those industries in New Jersey.
“It’s been devastating,” says Adam Phillipson, CEO of the Basie, a nonprofit performing arts center in Red Bank.
“Isn’t the arts always the one that gets erased? And it just can’t happen. This is the moment we have to be considered. Otherwise, I don’t know what the fate will be for the arts organizations across the country,” Phillipson says.
But he says that he is hopeful that after a monthslong stalemate in Congress, there is momentum for another round of COVID-19 stimulus funds – funds that will also go to live venues and movie theaters.
“When we talk to some of the larger organizations, their losses are in excess of $15 million,” says Ann Marie Miller of Art Pride New Jersey.
Art Pride New Jersey is an organization advocating for nonprofit arts groups. Miller says that the creative sector employs thousands of people who are facing difficulty.
“It’s over 80,000 people in New Jersey. And those are people who pay rent, have mortgages and have to buy groceries,” Miller says.
But even with the hope of a COVID-19 vaccine enabling people to gather in theaters and elsewhere in large groups again, live entertainment faces a slow recovery. It can take up to a year for major tours to be booked and get back on the road, drawing the kinds of audiences that the venues need to bounce back.