Americans for the Arts asks everyone to take two minutes to contact your U.S. Representative and Senators to call on them to pass further COVID-19 economic relief legislation before Congress recesses on July 31st.

The Coronavirus has had a devastating $8.4 billion economic impact on America’s arts sector with a 67% unemployment rate among artists and gig workers. Since the first U.S. case was reported in January, 96% of arts and culture organizations have cancelled events—some as far out as 2021—resulting in a loss of 325 million ticketed admissions and billions of dollars more lost in event-related spending by audiences at local businesses (restaurants, lodging, retail), impacting 533,000 jobs.

Tomorrow, on June 30th, the Small Business Administration’s highly popular Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) ends with more than a $130 billion surplus.  AFTA urges Congress to use these funds to allow the arts and culture sector, including nonprofits and gig workers, to have an opportunity to apply for a second forgivable loan with these surplus funds. For example, the entire “Arts, Entertainment & Recreation” sector represented only 1.5% ($7.9 billion) of all PPP allocated funds.   Additionally, the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program, providing an additional $600/week to the 20 million Americans receiving state unemployment assistance will end on July 31st.  Many states opened applications for pandemic unemployment for self-employed, gig workers very late and now with no ability to re-open cultural venues any time soon, we need an extension of pandemic unemployment benefits.

Please take two minutes to send a customizable E-alert to your U.S. Representatives and Senators to call on them to extend the pandemic unemployment assistance and provide a second round of the Paycheck Protection Program to the arts sector by July 31st.