CBS’s morning show on Saturday highlighted the plight of the country’s performance venues, which have been decimated by the coronavirus pandemic. In the story, Chuck Schumer, the U.S. Senate’s top Democrat, advocated for emergency stimulus funding to help theaters and music halls. He was interviewed outside Arlene’s Grocery, the legendary Lower East Side music institution, which last week announced it would be forced to close in February without immediate government aid.
Our indie venues like @ArlenesGrocery in the Lower East Side are threatened amid COVID.
These are people’s jobs and livelihoods.
And these Indie music venues, Broadway, comedy clubs, and more need our help now.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) December 5, 2020
Schumer has been advocating for the “Save Our Stages Act,” which would allocate $15 billion for imperiled entertainment venues across the city. It is expected to be included in new stimulus legislation now being hashed out by Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate, if the two sides can ever come to terms on a deal.
On Instagram, Arlene’s Grocery thanked the senator for his efforts, but also the New York Independent Venue Association for creating a support system for venues and giving them a voice during an incredibly difficult time.
On November 27, Arlene’s Grocery posted an urgent plea for support:
Help Us Save Arlene’s. Hit hard like many, the Covid pandemic has devastated our industry. After 25 years of serving the Lower East Side, and giving a platform for musicians and artists alike, Arlene’s Grocery is on life support. Without any aid we will not be able to continue to serve our community and will be closing our doors on February 1st. The owners and staff members are absolutely heartbroken. Arlene’s has become a home to so many over the years and we are in desperate need of your help. A CALL TO ACTION: •Share your memories or posts to help save Arlene’s. We need to make some noise. Make sure to tag as many as you can. •Share with us any resources or contacts to those who can be of help •Donate to our Venmo or Go Fund Me •Buy Arlene’s Merchandise •Subscribe to our Patreon Small stages are vital to the music industry, artistically and functionally, and losing them is truly a loss to the entire community.
Arlene’s Grocery started a GoFundMe campaign a few months ago. It has now raised about $27,000 of an $80,000 goal.
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