90% of U.S. Independent Music Venues Could Close Permanently Due to COVID-19: Report

The National Independent Venue Association is asking the U.S. government for assistance
90% of U.S. Independent Music Venues Could Close Permanently Due to COVID-19: Report
While select sectors of the arts and entertainment industries prepare to reopen, experts suggest we are nowhere close to the return of live music. Now, venue owners in the United States say the ongoing coronavirus pandemic will force them to close their doors for good.

A new survey conducted by the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) found that out of nearly 2,000 members in all 50 states, 90 percent of respondents said they "will close permanently in a few months without federal funding."

While the study acknowledges the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that was implemented as part of America's CARES Act, it states that "PPP funding will not solve the crisis."

NIVA is calling for PPP to be "tailored to work for shuttered businesses like ours that have zero revenue, high overhead and no clear timeline for reopening," specifically citing the RESTART Act proposed by U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and Todd Young last month.

In addition to that long-term assistance, NIVA is also calling for further relief through tax credits that target ticket refunds, rent and mortgage expenses, safe workplace incentives and employee retention, and continued unemployment insurance benefits.

The association's study also examines how tour routes within the United States have been affected by COVID-19, and how the pandemic has influenced geographical considerations of touring artists from local to international scales.

"Live event venues were among the first to close as COVID-19 spread across the country, and they are likely to be among the last to reopen," a letter sent to House of Representative and Senate leaders in late May reads in part. "Concerts and live events may not be possible until a vaccine is readily available to the public, which could be months away. Until that time, live event venues will remain shuttered, leaving employees without jobs and businesses without revenue. The continued closures will impact the hundreds of contractors, suppliers, and business partners that support the live entertainment industry in our states and districts."

You can check out NIVA's survey fact sheet here, and can learn more about the effort through SaveOurStages.com.