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Live Events Community Launches Coalition to Lobby for Coronavirus Aid
While the hospitality community and Meetings Mean Business Coalition lobby the Trump Administration for government relief on behalf of a travel industry decimated by COVID-19, many in the live events world feel left out.
To make sure their voice is heard, the live events community formed the Live Events Coaliton and launched a petition that currently has more than 400,000 singatures, calling for the Trump administration and Congress to establish a special task force to address their concerns and provide an aid package.
“The coronavirus outbreak is threatening to eliminate the livelihoods of millions of Americans and their companies, with the possibility of wiping them out for good if action is not taken right now,” said Isaac Rothwell, a spokesman for the Live Events Coalition, in announcing the effort.
“The White House is holding talks with representatives from many different sectors of the economy and we are asking to be brought into those talks right away. We represent people in every state of the union and make a major contribution to the U.S. economy.”
The Live Events Coalition is a grassroots organization comprised of U.S. live event and entertainment businesses, their employees and independent contractors. Examples of companies and individuals in the live events industry include:
- Event production companies
- Technology solution providers
- Meeting planning companies
- Tour support and ticketing companies
- Decor companies
- Independent contractors
The live events industry also includes businesses that produce and facilitate concerts, sporting events, conferences, activations, meetings, tradeshows and theatrical productions, among other events.
Rothwell, who owns Chicago-based Digerati Productions, said the U.S. events industry supports more jobs than oil and gas extraction, telecom, automobile, food, chemical and machinery manufacturing comblined, citing statistics from Allied Market Research that peg the live events industry as generating more than $1.1 trillion per year globally.
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Further, of that $1.1 trilion, direct spending on events in the U.S. represents the lion’s share of that revenue at more than 36%, according to the research cited by Rothwell.
The COVID-19 Federal Aid Package for Events Industry petition seeks the following relief as part of an aid package from the U.S. government
- Emergency Medicaid health insurance to cover uninsured business owners, contractors and laid-off employees.
- An additional $200 billion in low interest, federally backed business liquidity loans. The initial $50 billion has already been surpassed in current sustained losses just to the live events industry, according to the Live Events Coalition.
- $100 billion in employee retention grants such as are being offered in New York City.
- The ability to submit canceled contracts as loss of income in 2020 taxes.
- The Families First Coronavirus Response Act should include 1099 self-employed individuals.
- The ability to apply for unemployment insurance to cover lost income.
- The ability to get disability sick pay for missed work.
Rothwell said the Live Events Coalition has received support from the International Live Events Association, among other organizations.
Coalition board member Eileen Valois, senior vice president of strategic initiatives for PRG, a major event services provider for sports events, said the effort seeks to give a voice to what many feel is an underrepresented segment of the hospitality industry.
“The petition was put together by Isaac as a gut reaction to help our most vulnerable small businesses and independent contractors,” Valois said in a press release announcing the formation of the coaltion and the petition drive. “Many of us saw his initiative as a call to action and the Live Events Coalition was formed.
“We want to ensure that our industry, which is highly complex and varied, is part of the national conversation during this time of crisis,” she continued. “Our mission is to ensure that events-related businesses—and the millions of Americans in our displaced workforce, including full- and part-time wokers, independent contractors and freelance professionals that we employ—are included in future supplemental relief aid packages.”