23 Mar Live Events Coalition: US events biz calls for aid
Production giant PRG and the International Live Events Association are among those demanding sector-specific financial help for small businesses and the self-employed.
A coalition of American event production and technology businesses have called on the Trump government and US Congress to establish a special taskforce to “rescue their industry in the face of total collapse” caused by the spread of the coronavirus.
“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,” says Isaac Rothwell, national director of operations at Digerati Productions and a spokesman for the new Live Events Coalition.
“The White House is holding talks with representatives from many different sectors of the economy and we are asking to be brought in to those talks right away. We represent people in every state of the union and make a major contribution to the US economy.”
On the direction of the Centers for Disease Control and US president Donald Trump, who last week warned against gatherings of more than ten people, entertainment venues and other public places have closed across the US in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
“This work stoppage within the industry that produces them is creating a domino effect threatening a significant portion of the US economy,” according to the Live Events Coalition, which also counts PRG, VER, Detroit’s 360 Event Productions, Los Angeles’ Sterling Engagements and the International Live Events Association (ILEA) among its supporters.
“We want to ensure our industry is part of the national conversation during this time of crisis”
The formation of the coalition comes on the back of a Change.org petition which calls for Trump to introduce a federal aid package for small businesses in the live events industry. At press time, the petition had been signed by nearly 350,000 people.
“The petition was put together by Isaac as a gut reaction to help our most vulnerable: small businesses and independent contractors. Many of us saw his initiative as a call to action, and the Live Events Coalition was formed,” explains PRG’s senior vice-president of market strategy in the US, Eileen Valois. “We want to ensure that our industry, which is highly complex and varied, is part of the national conversation during this time of crisis.
“Our mission is to ensure that events-related businesses – and the millions of Americans in our displaced workforce, including full- and part-time workers, independent contractors and freelance professionals that we employ – are included in future supplemental relief aid packages.”