With Oregon’s bars, restaurants and venues shuttering, musicians stand to be among the hardest hit by COVID-19-related losses. But, in order to be considered for any relief, “we must stand up to quantify the immediate impact that the music community is suffering.”
That message from Meara McLaughlin, Executive Director of MusicPortland, which advocates for musicians and the Oregon music industry. McLaughlin is circulating a survey inviting everyone who works in the music industry to contribute data, from the first 90 days of the crisis, on how COVID-19 has impacted them financially.
The data is intended to support any claim to relief that may be provided by the state and federal governments in the weeks and months ahead. Here’s a snapshot of losses the MusicPortland survey had gathered as of March 16, 2020:
Relief may be of crucial importance to workers in the “gig economy,” because “existing paid leave programs are by and large not applicable to this workforce,” according the IATSE, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. Calling on Congress to include displaced entertainment workers in relief packages, IATSE President Matthew Loeb said:
“The bipartisan Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201) is a good start to providing relief to workers, however, the provisions on the table for emergency paid leave benefits won’t apply to displaced entertainment workers because of the requirements for days worked on a job to qualify…. The unique nature of the entertainment industry means that many of the creative professionals may not work every day, or even every month.”
IATSE has launched a Facebook petition to demand entertainment workers, impacted severely and immediately by social distancing measures, be considered in future aid packages.