After months of negotiation, Congress passed a $900 billion stimulus bill that includes the Save Our Stages provision.
The provision, which has received bipartisan support and backing from the Broadway League, provides a total of $15 billion in grants to live venue operators, producers, promoters and talent representatives in the entertainment industry. The House and Senate voted to approve the bill late Monday, and it now awaits a signature from President Trump.
The Broadway League, working alongside the National Independent Venue Association, has been lobbying for Save Our Stages as a means to cover expenses including payroll costs, rent, mortgage payments, utilities and personal protective equipment for theater owners, producers and non-profits in the industry.
“We are grateful for this bipartisan agreement which will provide immediate relief across our industry and a lifeline to the future,” Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League, said in a statement Monday.
The provision allots $15 billion in grants for Save Our Stages, an increase from the $10 billion included in previous bills, but it has been expanded to include museums and independent movie theaters, alongside Broadway theaters and live music venues. Each recipient can receive a grant of up to $10 million, calculated based on 45% of gross earned revenue in 2019 or six months of gross revenue that year. Recipients may also receive a supplemental grant equal to 50% of the first grant amount.
The initial grant can be used to cover costs incurred from March 1, 2020 through Dec. 31, 2021, while the supplemental grant may be used for costs incurred from March 1, 2020 through June 30, 2022.
Applicants who have lost more than 90% of their income will be the first group eligible to apply. They can begin applying two weeks after the bill has passed.
The League lobbied to include a wider swath of the industry, including non-profit theaters, in the text. The bill is intended for small businesses in the entertainment industry, meaning that larger entities or those that are majority-owned by large corporations, such as Disney Theatrical Productions, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, are not eligible.
The provision, initially introduced in July by U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and John Cornyn (R-Tex), has garnered bipartisan support and has appeared both as a standalone bill and in pandemic relief legislation along the way, which have thus far failed to pass.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has been a prominent supporter of Save Our Stages and appeared in a press conference with the Broadway League this September to urge for its passage.
“We secured the #SaveOurStages Act for indie music venues, Broadway, comedy clubs, indie movie theaters, and more,” Schumer tweeted Sunday. “These are people’s jobs and livelihoods, and they need this help now. I won’t stop fighting for them.”