With no reopening in sight for clubs, Senator Amy Klobuchar introduced new legislation on Wednesday that would make available $10 billion to assist music halls impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The senator says 90 percent of venue owners, promoters, and bookers report they face closure without help if they are unable to resume concerts before 2021. According to her numbers, venues nationwide face $9 billion in losses.
Under the bill, dubbed "The Save Our Stages" Act, the Small Business Administration would make grants to eligible venues to cover 45 percent of operating costs for the 2019 calendar year, up to $12 million.
If the bill is approved, $10 billion would be made available for the grants. The SBA would also be allowed to send out additional grants to venues if funding remains in the future.
Venues would be able to use the money to cover rent, utilities, mortgage, costs for protective gear, payments to contractors, maintenance, administrative costs, taxes, operating leases, and to make approvements to meet social distancing guidelines. Clubs would be required to use the funds within or year and return any remaining money.
In a statement, Klobuchar directly referenced iconic club First Avenue in Minneapolis while talking about venues struggling during the pandemic.
"Minnesota’s concert halls, theatres, and places of entertainment, like First Avenue in Minneapolis, where Prince famously performed, have inspired generations with the best of local music, art, and education," Klobuchar said. "This legislation would help ensure that small entertainment venues can continue to operate, and serve our communities for generations to come."
Klobuchar introduced the legislation with Republic Senator John Cornyn from Texas.