As you have probably heard in today's news, Congress is set to approve the urgently needed new COVID-19 relief bill. I know that theatres are anxiously waiting the details, and we will share more with you just as soon as we are able to analyze the final language.
In the meantime, here are a few highlights of what we do know so far:
- An historic level of support for the live performing arts is included at $15 billion through Save Our Stages:
- There is a 20% reserve for after two priority periods;
- $2B is set aside for Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees;
- There is a $10M cap on grants.
- There will be a second round of Paycheck Protection Program resources.
- Unemployment benefits will be extended and expanded, renewing support for "gig workers," including theatre artists:
- The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program has been extended to April 5 (with a phase-out beginning in mid-March). This includes an extension of the eligibility period to 50 weeks.
- For salaried/hourly workers, the PEUC program has also been extended to April 5 once the applicant exhausts their state UI.
- For "mixed earners" with 1099/W2 income, who were ineligible for PUA, they will receive a weekly bonus of $100 for the duration of their state UI/PEUC benefits.
- And all recipients of unemployment (state, PUA, PEUC) will receive an extra $300 week from December 26 to March 14.
TCG has advocated for Save Our Stages in partnership across a network of national, regional, and state arts and nonprofit organizations to negotiate directly with members of Congress. Some congressional champions include: Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL).
We are so grateful to theatres across the country for your role in actively advocating for federal relief. This moment confirms that your voices have been heard -- THANK YOU!
The specific details of the bill language will answer all the eligibility questions you have as you make real-time decisions about how to support communities, staff, and artists in the coming months.
Please stay tuned for more information as details become available. TCG will be working to help you navigate access to relief in the coming weeks and months.
Meanwhile - relief is on the way - Happy Holidays!