Carper, Tester Introduce Bill to Help Live Entertainment Industry Survive Pandemic

With the live music industry shuttered across the country due to the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) are pushing to make sure small, independent music and entertainment venues can survive until crowds can gather safely again.

The Senators today introduced the Entertainments New Credit Opportunity for Relief & Economic Sustainability (ENCORES) Act, a bill that will create a new tax credit for live entertainment venues with fewer than 500 employees to help cover the cost of refunded tickets for shows that were canceled due to the pandemic.

“Like so many businesses across our country, live music venues have been forced to close their doors, leaving thousands of Americans without jobs and millions without the invaluable experiences they provide. These venues were some of the first businesses to close and, sadly, will be some of the last to fully reopen as our nation continues to grapple with an unprecedented pandemic,” said Senator Carper. “Today, I am joining Senator Tester to introduce the ENCORES Act, a bill that will provide much-needed relief for our live music venues by creating a tax credit to help cover refunded ticket costs due to canceled events. Music venues are truly special places that have, for generations, provided our families with priceless memories. It’s on us to do what we can to support this industry now so that we can come out on the other side of this pandemic and ensure that this will not be the day the music died.”

“Gathering in large crowds for live shows is something many Montanans are missing right now,” Tester said. “And without them, the folks who make a living keeping us entertained will be left out in the cold. This bill will fix that by making sure the owners and employees of our small, independent venues can weather this storm, and helps ensure they’ll be there to welcome folks back to experience the magic of live music once we’re on the other side of this crisis.”

The ENCORES Act tax credit will allow music venues to recoup some of the losses they have experienced due to ticket refunds from canceled events. To be eligible for the credit, businesses must have offered a voucher to customers first, and customers opted for a refund instead.

Independent venue operators from across Delaware have reached out to Senator Carper about the hardships they are facing, and thanked him for introducing the bill, including Milton Theatre Director Fred Munzert:

“History tells us that for every challenging time the arts persist and comes back even stronger. Art is one of the first things people look to when regaining their sense of normalcy,” said Milton Theatre Director Fred Munzert. “In these incredibly challenging times, live art will be the voice of peace and hope. Keeping our local venues alive and well must be part of our plan as we create a new world for all to enjoy.

A bipartisan companion version of the ENCORES Act was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives last week.

The ENCORES Act is available HERE.