Live event venues thrilled by assistance measures

Concert halls and other live performance venues have been among the hardest hit businesses during the pandemic. New state aid is throwing them a lifeline.

Last minute bills passed by the state legislature on Monday will provide much needed support for those struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. The measures will shore up the state’s unemployment fund and provide support for businesses shuttered during closure orders.

That’s music to the ears of those who own or operate theaters, concert halls, and other live performance venues. Most of them have been closed for most of the year. Spaces where large groups of people gather indoors for hours at a time haven’t been viable businesses during the global pandemic.

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One piece of the state’s COVID aid legislation sets aside $3.5 million just for concert and entertainment venues. Such businesses will be eligible to receive grants of up to $40,000.

“We worked really hard in the state to make our leadership aware of how bad venues and promoters have had it since March 12th,” said Scott Hammontree, the owner of the Intersection in Grand Rapids.”We just needed a bridge to get us to the point we can operate our businesses safely and get back to being a driver for our local economies.”

“First time I have felt optimistic in a while.”

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