Local Venues To Receive Critical Assistance From COVID-19 Relief Package

Tuesday, December 22nd 2020, 7:47 am
By: Ashley Holden

Oklahoma City -

Congress approved a $900 billion pandemic relief package Monday night that includes $15 billion for theater operators and small venue owners like the Tower Theatre in Oklahoma City.

These critical funds will be given to businesses in the form of grants from the Small Business Administration and can cover things like payroll and rent.

Chad Whitehead who's an operating partner at the local venue said this money is crucial.

These funds will help businesses like his stay afloat for longer, giving them a fighting chance in 2021.

A national push called Save Our Stages helped make this happen. The hope is this push will save more than just the Tower Theatre, but also places like the Jones Assembly and the Bricktown Comedy Club. 

Whitehead told News 9 the theater received some help from the city and also on the federal level, but their theater has only been able to host a handful events this year. Events mean crowds, so it could take theaters months to recover once everything becomes safe. 

Whitehead said business owners aren't the only people who will benefit from this help - the whole city will.

"Its a huge success story but the big winners are cities and neighborhoods," said Whitehead. "The cultural and economic impact is massive and I think we all know that in our hearts, this is just validation that our legislatures saw that."

He anticipates there will be a big desire for live music once they are able to safely open back up. The hope is venues can hold on until that point. 

"We don't just need our staff because we love them," said Whitehead. "We need our staff in place, so they can help us get back to place as soon as that's safe. Because the industry and the demand for live music is going to be massive. So we anticipate a busy 18 to 24 months on the other side of COVID."