COVID-19 Closures Spur Independent Venues to Start New Group
Venues' forced closures have left most in desperate financial straits
When states began closing down nonessential businesses to tamp the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), organizers of an annual national recognition day for independent venues contacted everyone who had participated in previous years and invited them to a video call.
“It was an exchange of information,” said Audrey Fix Schaefer, communications director of the newly launched National Independent Venue Association (NIVA). “People would ask: What is the capacity you are allowed to have? What are you doing for employees? What is going on with your insurance? It was a pretty instant and intense exchange of information from venues, some of whom had previously been competitors. But that didn’t matter. Everyone just wanted to share information to figure out how we survive.”
From this desire, NIVA was born. “We realized we needed to come together,” Schaefer said. “We are going to have to take our story to Capitol Hill for assistance, or we’re not going to make it.”
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