An open letter to State Governors & Legislatures (NY only)

New York Independent Venues are going out of business at an alarming rate

538 so far! Let’s get to 1,000 signers!

I write today to urge you to allocate dedicated funding for New York’s independent performance spaces from the remaining funds provided to the state through the CARES Act. Of the $5 billion in Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) that New York state has received from the March 30, 2020 CARES act, $4 billion has not yet been spent. I implore you to earmark a mere 1.5% ($75 million) of the budget to save New York’s music and Comedy clubs. This expenditure would fall under the federally mandated guidelines requiring that the funds be spent for approved uses by the year’s end. As of writing this letter 65% of all the comedy and independent venues in New York can not sustain their businesses until February and will permanently shutter, even with the eviction moratoriums in place. I wholeheartedly back your efforts to stop the spread of this debilitating virus, but by doing so you are endangering New York’s priceless culture. These precious spaces remain closed with no way to generate revenue. By remaining closed, these spaces are incurring a collective $15 million per month in net losses. These are small businesses, many that have survived for decades or more, not major corporations with unlimited access to capital. New York will only bounce back when arts and culture are able to bounce back. In NYC alone, Live music venues support 25,500 jobs, $722.8 million in wages, and $2.2 billion in economic output with another $400 to $500 million in tourism dollars that can be attributed solely to attending music-related events. Other states, much less dependent on the live performance ecosystem than our own have stepped up. For example, Wisconsin ($100 million), Illinois ($60 million), and Oregon ($10 million), have all realized the importance our industry has on their economy. The choice is yours, and I strongly believe the choice is obvious. Spend $75 million to protect billions in economic activity and save New York’s priceless cultural scene. Thank you for your dedication to New York and your leadership during this unprecedented time.

First sent on October 21, 2020 by New York Independent Venue Association (NYIVA)

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