Democrats in the United States House of Representatives released an updated Heroes Act September 28. The coronavirus relief proposal includes Section 619, known as the Save Our Stages Act, which would authorize $10 billion in grants to live venue operators (including theatres on various scales) to cover rent, payroll, and more as they remain shuttered due to the pandemic.
The proposal allocates $2.2 trillion in various programs—less than its initial $3.4 trillion plan that was passed by the House in May but did not make it through the Republican-controlled senate (though still higher than the senate's $500 billion measure). If passed as revised, the act would also issue another round of stimulus checks, reinstate the $600 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation supplements, offer student loan relief, and more.
The bipartisan Save Our Stages was authored by Senators Amy Klobuchar and John Cornyn. While its inclusion in the new Heroes Act indicates House approval, it faces a re-rejection in the Senate. Earlier this month, New York Senator Chuck Schumer—a co-sponsor of the bill—led a rally in Times Square with leaders of the Broadway League and other industry members advocating for its passing.
“It is vitally important to acknowledge the disparate impact this pandemic has had on artists and artisans and recognize the need to extend unemployment benefits,” director-performer Schele Williams said during the event. “We need Broadway to bring us all back together again. It will require a tremendous effort for theatres to restart, and it will take longer than we would all hope. That is why now, we need the government to support S.O.S.”