Actors' Equity Association has released the following statement regarding the newly passed COVID-19 relief bill, which extends COVID unemployment payments and includes the $15 billion "Save Our Stages" provision with help for venue operators.
"Senator Schumer himself said, 'We can and should do better,' and I agree," said Kate Shindle, president of Actors' Equity Association. "This bill does indeed contain valuable provisions that will extend unemployment for those in the live arts. And it offers a down payment on funding for vaccinations, which will create a shorter path for us to get back to work. Unfortunately, our industry will not yet have recovered when this new round of unemployment provisions expire, creating uncertainty for millions of middle-class Americans who make our living in the arts and entertainment sector. The package also fails to provide COBRA funding for arts workers, who are losing their health insurance through no fault of their own during the industry shutdown. We look forward to working with President Biden and the new Congress next year to improve upon the steps taken in this important bill."