- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Senators proposed a bipartisan bill Wednesday to rescue independent, live music venues struggling to stay in business due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Save Our Stages Act.

Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas and Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota introduced the bill as the nation’s live music industry hopes to rebound from the outbreak.

States across the country began to impose stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders in March as the nation saw a surge in cases of COVID-19, the disease the novel coronavirus cases.

Roughly four months later, live concerts remain essentially on hold due to the continuing public health crisis making it risky for people to gather in large groups indoors.

“Texas is home to a number of historic and world-class small entertainment venues, many of which remain shuttered after being the first businesses to close,” Mr. Cornyn said in a statement. “The culture around Texas dance halls and live music has shaped generations, and this legislation would give them the resources to reopen their doors and continue educating and inspiring Texans beyond the coronavirus 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,” echoed Ms. Klobuchar, a former candidate in the race to become this year’s Democratic presidential nominee. “This legislation would help ensure that small entertainment venues can continue to operate, and serve our communities for generations to come.”

If successfully passed in its current form, the Save Our Stages Act would appropriate $10 billion for the Small Business Administration to give out in grants awarded to independent live music venue operators affected by coronavirus restrictions, according to its sponsors. Each grant would provide recipients with six months of financial support to cover the costs of staying in business, the lawmakers said in a news release.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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