Local entertainment venue owners Tuesday welcomed the passage of the federal stimulus bill and credited U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi for his role in ensuring that aid to restaurants and live-entertainment was included.
Suozzi, D-Huntington, supported revisions to the Paycheck Protection Program to better support independent restaurants with payroll and $15 billion in targeted Small Business Administration grants for the live-entertainment industry.
In October, Suozzi, Kevin O’Neill, owner of the Engeman Theater in Northport, and Paramount co-owner Brian Doyle spoke at a press conference to urge passage of a relief bill for their industry, which has been shut down since March.
“On March 22 non-essential businesses in New York shut down. The reopening and recovery of businesses has been uneven ever since.” Suozzi said. “Independently owned live entertainment venues, restaurants, as well as musicians, actors, comedians, promoters, and stagehands, have been financially devastated by the pandemic. Today’s passage of a COVID-19 relief package that offers relief to live-entertainment venues and restaurants provides a renewed life to the stages that bring so much culture and joy to our community. We can’t let the music die.”
O’Neill said, “Today is a day of relief for independently owned live venues, and we owe Congressman Tom Suozzi a great debt of gratitude for the attention he gave us, his ongoing support of and increasing the profile of the Save Our Stages Act. The inclusion of SOS in the most recent COVID relief bill will give us the ability to continue to weather the pandemic induced mandated shut down. We were the first to close, and we will be the last to open, and without SOS, the live entertainment industry as we know it would have been decimated,”
“It’s a Great Day for the Arts in America! Thank you to Congressman Suozzi and everyone who helped to make the Save our Stages Act a reality! The Paramount and stages across the country will soon once again vibrate with the energy of great artists and great concert goers alike,” The Paramount, Huntington.
Restaurants and live entertainment venues were one of the first businesses to close at the outset of the pandemic and will be some of the last to fully reopen. According to a bi-county study released earlier this year by Nassau and Suffolk County on the economic impacts of COVID-19, the hospitality and entertainment industry lost 82,000 jobs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is more than any other industry on Long Island.