U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi Monday urged the Senate to approve a bill that would help local entertainment venues and restaurants imperiled by the Covid-19 shutdown.
The Democrats introduced the HEROES act, which includes a total of $130 billion for restaurants and entertainment sites. Suozzi said, “The reopening and recovery of businesses has been uneven. Independently owned live entertainment venues, as well as musicians, actors, comedians, promoters, stagehands, and the local restaurants that count on the business that these venues bring in, have been financially devastated by the pandemic. We can’t let the music die.”
Paramount co-owner Brian Doyle said the venue, which closed March 11, would not survive if it didn’t receive financial assistance. “It’s going to be a long time before we get 400 people elbow to elbow” in a venue. It opened in 2011.
Doyle and Kevin O’Neill, owner of the Engemann theater in Northport, said the shutdown had affected thousands of residents working for the venues as musicians, comics, actors or as vendors or other positions.
The bill passed by the Democrat-controlled House includes a $120 billion grant program for restaurants and $10 billion to help live entertainment venues, Suozzi said. He called the industries “an important part of our lives that’s threatened right now.”
Before the press conference got underway at the Paramount, a video featuring a range of artists, including Wyclef Jean, Ray Romano, Sara Evans and Alice Cooper, urged people to push for aid to reopen venues.
The Heroes Act 2.0 passed the U.S. House of Representatives last week. In addition to providing much-needed relief to struggling industry and business, Heroes Act 2.0 would also:
- Eliminate the $10,000 limit on state and local tax (SALT) deductions for 2020;
- Provide over an estimated $1 billion in aid to struggling cities, townships, and local government on Long Island and Queens;
- Provide $225 billion for childcare and schools;
- Provide $120 billion in aid to the restaurant and catering hall industry;
- Provide Strong support for small businesses, by improving the Paycheck Protection Program to serve the smallest businesses and struggling non-profits, providing hard-hit businesses with second loans;
- Provide $75 billion for COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, and isolation measures, as well as $28 billion for procurement, distribution, and education campaigns for a safe and effective vaccine; and
- Provide a second round of direct economic impact payments of $1,200 per taxpayer and $500 per dependent.
Entertainers throughout the country have come together at SaveOurStages.com to urge politicians to take action to rescue their industry.
In addition to Doyle and O’Neill, joining Suozzi were Dom Catoggio, Jim Condron and Stephen Ubertini, co-owners of The Paramount; Laura Mogul, executive director of Landmark on Main Street in Port Washington; Michael “Eppy” Epstein, owner of My Father’s Place in Roslyn; Bill Biddle, executive director of the Tilles Center in Brookville, and Mickey King, director of the New York Restaurants Association.
Data provided by the Nassau Suffolk Covid-19 Economic Impact Survey in July.