Latest News as COVID Relief Moves through Congress
The federal government is swiftly enacting new forms of federal relief in response to the COVID-19 crisis, amid intensive advocacy by TCG, its members, and partners in the arts and nonprofit sectors. Below is a top-line overview of the developments. We will continue to be in frequent contact with the theatre community to provide much more detailed information about forms of relief and to let you know how your continued advocacy can sustain the arts sector's unique capacity to support the U.S. economy, uplift the human spirit, and provide lifelong learning.
- Relief Package #1: Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act (signed into law 3/6/2020)
The SBA's Economic Injury Loan Program has received additional funding to provide disaster relief loans related to COVID-19, with eligibility for nonprofit organizations. Local applicants should contact their local district SBA office to pursue this process. Applicants must be in a declared disaster area, and states have to first apply to the SBA to initiate eligibility. Here's the list of those states that have completed the process so far.
Unemployment Benefits Guidance was expanded by the federal government on March 12, giving states the flexibility to expand their unemployment benefits coverage to include COVID-19 related worker displacement. These changes are being made state by state. Some states have announced their intention to also develop new support for self-employed workers who are not eligible for unemployment benefits. Consult your state department of labor for more details.
- Relief Package #2: Families First Coronavirus Response Act (passed by Congress on 3/18/20)
This package has a central focus on paid leave for workers, and relief for employers (including nonprofit employers) that provide the paid leave. Please see TCG’s overview of the initial proposal. Further details will be determined in regulations and guidelines issued by federal agencies. TCG will provide details as soon as they become available.
- Relief Package #3: Economic Stimulus and Relief Package (drafting underway)
This emergency economic stimulus and relief package will be unprecedented in scope and scale. TCG is a leader in national advocacy efforts to ensure nonprofit arts organizations, the creative sector, and their workforces are eligible for all forms of relief, including FEMA assistance for unemployed workers (including independent contractors), enhanced incentives for charitable giving, stimulus funding directed to the arts, and more. Congress aims to complete this package by the end of March, or much sooner.
We urge all theatre advocates to contact elected officials at all levels. These policy leaders will rapidly be making decisions about eligibility for relief and will be essential partners to help you access relief, once passed. As of today (3/19/20) 1036 theatre advocates have reached 335 Members of Congress with 3,390 messages and TCG will be sending a new Alert geared toward the Stimulus package soon. More information will be shared as policies and legislation relating to COVID-19 develop.
Please also continue to consult TCG’s growing collection of COVID-19 resources.