Venue owners in Charlotte are saying that they are almost at breaking point because they have been unable to open their businesses for nearly six months, due to the current and former COVID restrictions.
On Tuesday, Governor Roy Cooper made a shift to move Charlotte into Phase 2.5 reopening, which included museums, bowling alleys, and gyms. The move went into effect at 5 p.m. on Friday. However, the latest order doesn’t include entertainment facilities that hold events indoors, as well as bars and nightclubs.
Joe Kuhlmann, who owns The Evening Muse, says that the music industry has taken a huge hit and is going to need some serious help if they are to survive the pandemic. He continued by explaining that even if music venues like his own were able to open and have up to 25 people inside, which is the current maximum, this wouldn’t be enough to keep the doors open.
City Council Needs to Step In
The Independent Venue Alliance of Charlotte says that the City Council needs to be doing a lot more than they are to help fund businesses in the music industry to stay afloat. They are going to need access to millions of federal funding dollars in order to avoid completely collapsing.
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The Venue Alliance says that they have officially arrived at breaking point, and if music venues in the Charlotte area don’t get the help that they need soon, there aren’t going to be any of them left when the pandemic officially passes.
Meager Amount of Help for Small Businesses
Cory Burkarth, the spokesman for the city, says that there is help available for businesses that are either medium-sized or small, and this includes music venues. The city has begun to hand out $30 million from the federal CAREs Act to help provide financial aid to small businesses.
This financial relief program includes businesses that have already received help through the Paycheck Protection Program. Burkarth says that they understand the plight of businesses both big and small and that they’re working hard to try and support businesses, from the owners to the employees.
The Charlotte Alliance, which was originally formed to share information about reopening restrictions and guidelines, includes 13 venues in the Charlotte area. Included in this are music venues like Skylark Social Club, The Tipsy Burro, and The Thirsty Beaver.
The wider Independent Venue Association includes as many as 2,400 members around the country. The group has talked about how restaurants can offer takeout options, and breweries have outdoor settings where they can hold more patrons, while music venues have no choice but to remain closed and watch as the bills pile up.