We are the middle class behind-the-scenes workers that create American entertainment – almost all of whom found ourselves out of work overnight due to COVID-19. Our industry will continue to be disproportionately impacted by this crisis, as there will need to be safety restrictions and limitations imposed upon mass gatherings for the foreseeable future.
Our jobs will be among the last to fully return. Congress must extend the “CARES” Act’s unemployment insurance (UI) provisions, including the $600/week Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, for as long as the health crisis persists to ensure entertainment families are sustained until we can safely return and begin to help the country heal.
Jillian - Nashville, TN
I have worked since I was 16 years old and have never expected any handouts. Like many, my income has gone from affording a home to zero. I have taken an hourly job at a home improvement store but that alone will not allow me enough income to keep my home. As the country begins to open back up, the entertainment industry will return, but as one of the last to be in full force. We will all go back to work, but just need a little help in getting there.
Karen - Mount Vernon, IA
I live in a semi-rural Iowa town and have worked for over 20 years as a stagehand. The enhanced COVID UI benefits have been a godsend to my family. If these benefits go away, our house will become harder to keep. In addition, the extra $600 has allowed us to continue to support local businesses. If they go away, any discretionary spending by my household would be eliminated. The loss of that enhanced income will have an impact beyond my own family and the ripple effects will be damaging to the community and economy here in Mount Vernon, Iowa, and around the country.
James - Phoenix, AZ
I am a freelance audio engineer working in the entertainment industry for 30+ years. Our industry has been decimated by the pandemic. Audiences will not return to concerts until they feel safe. With my entire income gone I am grateful for the extended unemployment benefits. Losing those would surely have devastating consequences for most of my colleagues, and myself. For myself personally, the loss will leave me unable to pay bills, as well as force me to destroy any retirement investments I’ve fought hard to create. Congress must act to renew enhanced unemployment benefits. Millions of self employed persons depend on your doing so.
Quinten - Austin, TX
We are the professionals who make events happen and happen safely. As Entertainment Industry workers we are often unseen. The COVID pandemic made our industry disappear overnight. We have been doing our part to curb the pandemic by isolating and adhering to CDC recommendations. The COVID pandemic disaster unemployment insurance payments are ABSOLUTELY VITAL to maintaining food, shelter & health. It is important that these insurance payments continue. I would rather work. We all would. It's what we do. Please do your part and make sure Entertainment Industry Workers are protected by continuing the Covid pandemic Disaster Unemployment Insurance payments, as we collectively get through this.
Erin - Chattanooga, TN
I am passionate about the career that I have made, but it's been painful to live through this pandemic. I quickly blew through my savings just paying rent, utilities, and groceries. Luckily, with the enhancement I've been able to keep a roof over my head. Traveling concerts and Broadway touring productions are the bread and butter for stagehands in our city. Unless CARES Act UI provisions are extended, I will likely be evicted and forced to move back home with my family. I hope and pray that Congress will come to understand the pain the entertainment industry is going through, and take action!