UPDATE: It’s official. The $ 900 billion COVID 19 relief bill that was overwhelmingly passed by the U.S. Congress on Monday night was finally enacted by President Trump on Sunday night. It includes tens of billions of dollars in direct and indirect aid for individuals and businesses in the music industry.
Here’s Hypebot’s guide on how the new COVID 19 relief bill will help venues, musicians, and much of the independent music community.
In what is the largest support for cultural institutions in US history, $ 15 billion in grants are available for independent concert halls and some related businesses.
Independent business group NIVA, which along with NITO and others lobbied for help under the #SaveOurStages banner, offers this explanation of the new help package and who is eligible:
“The Save Our Stages law will provide financial assistance to sites and independent promoters who have been devastated by the pandemic closure. The Save Our Stages law will allow these local businesses to hold on until they are sure to come together, fully reopen and come back again to serve as economic engines for their communities ”.
“The legislation provides essential assistance to private businesses by providing a subsidy equal to 45% of gross revenues as of 2019, with a cap of $ 10 million per entity. This grant will allow grantees to stay afloat until reopening by helping with expenses such as payroll and benefits, rent and mortgage, utilities, insurance, PPE and other routine business expenses. and necessary ”.
This aid is intended for performance halls, theaters and museums that have lost at least 25% of their income with initial grants of up to $ 10 million. A second grant of half the amount of the first may also be available. The money can be used for specific expenses such as salary costs, rent, utilities, and personal protective equipment.
UPDATE: Independent Agent and Managers’ Trade Group NITO have successfully lobbied for wording that makes certain independent agents and managers eligible for Save Our Stages funding. The group strives to educate its members on how to request relief.
To help the hardest hit businesses first and before the money runs out, during the first 14 days of the program, grants will only be made to those with 90% revenue losses. Next are companies with at least 70% loss of revenue over the next two weeks. After the first month, other eligible businesses may receive grants.
This is a 5,500 page bill, but you can find the Save Our Stages part on pages 2124 to 2153 here.
Help for musicians and industry
Many musicians and other music industry professionals will also benefit from other parts of the $ 900 billion package designed to help the unemployed, concert workers and small businesses devastated by the pandemic,
Direct stimulation controls
The bill means direct stimulus payments of $ 600 to people, including children of eligible families. Payments start phasing out for people whose adjusted gross income in 2019 is over $ 75,000, and those earning over $ 99,000 will not receive anything. The income threshold is doubled for couples.
Extended unemployment benefits
The bill adds a weekly federal improvement of $ 300 to unemployment benefits for 11 weeks until March 14.
Of particular interest to many musicians, touring crews, recording studio employees and others, the expansion of unemployment benefits for concert workers, freelancers, independent contractors and the self-employed will continue.
The pandemic emergency unemployment compensation program, which offers an additional 13 weeks of payments to those who exhaust their regular state benefits, has also been extended.
There is also an additional benefit of $ 100 per week for those who have at least $ 5,000 in annual self-employment earnings but are not eligible for pandemic unemployment assistance as they are eligible for unemployment benefits. regular state unemployment.
More PPP financing
The new bill also reopens the paycheck protection program for some businesses.
Second loans of up to $ 2 million will be available for businesses with fewer than 300 employees who lost at least 25% of their revenue in the first, second or third quarter of 2020.
There is also more flexibility on how they spend the money and simplifies the forgiveness process for loans under $ 150,000.
$ 12 billion has been allocated to minority-owned businesses.