STATEWIDE — State lawmakers want to help movie theaters and music venues that have struggled during the pandemic by creating a fund to give them a financial boost.
An Act To Ensure Continued Access to Film and Stage Theaters and Music Venues, proposed by State Senator Matthea Daughtry, D-Cumberland, would create a fund for struggling entertainment venues across the state.
The legislative Innovation, Development, Economic Advancement and Business Committee heard public comment on the proposal Thursday morning that would grant money to venues that experienced at least a 30 percent decrease in ticket sales in the quarters two and three of 2020, as compared to that time in 2019.
Venues would receive money in the form of grants, funded by state and federal allocated dollars, as well as private donations.
According to J. Andrew Cashman, a lawyer who represents Theatre Owners of New England, nationwide box office revenues have plummeted 80 percent since pandemic-related government-mandated restrictions began.
Cashman said the proposed bill would potentially save those that are at risk of closing their doors.
“There are independent theatres and larger owned chains they will come back but it is going to take time and this is intended to bridge that gap,” said Cashman.
Carla Pugliese, project director for the Cultural Alliance of Maine, said many of the businesses employ first-time workers, longtime workers and the elderly.
She agreed the money is needed.
The committee will hold a work session for this bill in the coming weeks.