Live music and entertainment venues like the Backyard Bar Stage and Grill have endured multiple shutdowns and lost at least tens of thousands of dollars since the pandemic started.
“The pandemic made 2020 worthless to us. Pretty hard to overcome a loss of almost 5 months of salary and income,” said owner Chris Cox.
Cox says the shutdowns began right when concert season typically does. He says they’ve missed out on more than 25 concerts.
“We were able to stay open as a restaurant, but when we lost the music side, it hurt us tremendously. They can’t be reproduced. There’s not a fairy that can show up with gold dust and get us through,” said Cox.
Thankfully, relief is on the way. The "Save Our Stages Act" was made part of the $900 billion COVID-19 relief package passed by Congress Monday.
“This bill brings in $15 billion that they [venues] would be able to use the SBA [Small Business Administration] to draw on to get back in business, pay their musicians, open up again,” said Congressman Roger Williams (TX-25).
Congressman Williams, who pushed the act, says the money could be used to cover back bills, wages, rent utilities and other costs.
“I’m gonna have cash flow. This is gonna work because the PPP program worked this spring,” explained Congressman Williams.
Cox says he’s happy the act will help them recover some of their losses, but he knows it’s really the public that will ultimately make the biggest difference.
“Please people, follow these guidelines. None of us like them. I promise you no one likes them, but it’s the only way they were going to get through this and be able to stay open,” said the owner.
The act also provides grants for independent movie theaters and cultural institutions like museums.