Thursday, August 11

Suozzi, Theatre and Restaurant Owners Urge Senate to Pass Heroes Act 2.0


At the Paramount Theatre in Huntington, Congressman Tom Suozzi (D-Long Island, Queens) was joined by owners and directors of some of Long Island’s premiere live entertainment venues and restaurants to urge the Senate to vote on and pass the Heroes Act 2.0. The legislation would, among other things, provide billions in desperately needed direct relief to the live entertainment industry, as well as the restaurant and catering hall industry.

The House-passed COVID-19 relief package includes two provisions that would provide direct relief to the hospitality industry. The first provision, the Save Our Stages Act, would provide $10 billion in assistance to live entertainment venues. The second provision, the RESTAURANTS Act, would create a $120 billion grant program for the restaurant and service industry.

“On March 22 non-essential businesses in New York shut down. The reopening and recovery of businesses has been uneven.” said Suozzi. “Independently owned live entertainment venues, as well as musicians, actors, comedians, promoters, stagehands, and the local restaurants that count on the business that these venues bring in, have been financially devastated by the pandemic. We are urging the Senate to act on this legislation now. If not, many of our beloved venues might not survive. We can’t let the music die.”

“In New York State, music venues remain closed due to the pandemic — and without targeted government funding they will have to close permanently. We thank Congressman Suozzi for his support of this legislation that will help us to preserve jobs in the community and continue to support the local economy. Remember every $1 spent on a ticket is worth $12 to other businesses in the local community,” said Dom Catoggio, Jim Condron, Stephen Ubertini, and Brian Doyle, owners of The Paramount “We were the first industry to close and will be the last to reopen. Music and entertainment can act as a beacon of light and hope during these tough times. Hesitating is not an option – without the legislation an entire American industry that benefits millions is in imminent jeopardy – so please SAVE OUR STAGES!”

“Save Our Stages is critical to the survival of local and regional cultural arts centers like Landmark on Main Street,” said Laura Mogul, Executive Director of Landmark on Main Street in Port Washington. “We need to prepare for the “new normal” so we can continue to fulfill our mission. We need funding to support large capital expenditures to bring our ventilation system to code. And we must purchase technology that will allow us to live stream our programs until we can reopen. ”

“This pandemic is an existential threat to the performing arts industry both regionally and Nationally,” said Bill Biddle, Executive Director of the Tilles Center in Brookville. “The economic impact is wide-ranging, and the result of darkened theaters affects many outside of the arts as well. I applaud Congressman Suozzi’s support and leadership of the Save Our Stages Bill and urge the Senate to pass this crucial bill for our industry.”

“The John Engeman Theater has been closed since March 2020 and will, in all likelihood, be closed for 18 months with zero revenue. I applaud Congressman Suozzi for his listening, outreach, and efforts to work across party lines to get this done,” said Kevin O’Neill, owner of the John Engeman Theater in Northport.

Restaurants and live entertainment venues were one of the first businesses to close at the outset of the pandemic and will be some of the last to fully reopen. According to a bi-county study released earlier this year by Nassau and Suffolk County on the economic impacts of COVID-19, the hospitality and entertainment industry lost 82,000 jobs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is more than any other industry on Long Island.

During the press conference, Suozzi was joined by Dom Catoggio, Jim Condron, Stephen Ubertini, and Brian Doyle, owners of The Paramount in Huntington; Kevin O’Neill, owner of the John Engeman Theater in Northport; Laura Mogul, Executive Director of Landmark on Main Street in Port Washington; Michael “Eppy” Epstein, owner of My Father’s Place in Roslyn; Bill Biddle, Executive Director of the Tilles Center in Brookville, and Mickey King, Director of the New York Restaurants Association.

The Heroes Act 2.0 is a COVID-19 relief package that passed the U.S. House of Representatives last week that reflects the ongoing needs of the American people and House Democrats’ continued willingness to negotiate with Senate Republicans on COVID-19 relief. In addition to providing much-needed relief to struggling industry and business, Heroes Act 2.0 would also:

  • Eliminate the $10,000 limit on state and local tax (SALT) deductions for 2020; \
  • Provide over an estimated $1 billion in aid to struggling cities, townships, and local government on Long Island and Queens;
  • Provide $225 billion for childcare and schools;
  • Provide $120 billion in aid to the restaurant and catering hall industry;
  • Provide Strong support for small businesses, by improving the Paycheck Protection Program to serve the smallest businesses and struggling non-profits, providing hard-hit businesses with second loans;
  • Provide $75 billion for COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, and isolation measures, as well as $28 billion for procurement, distribution, and education campaigns for a safe and effective vaccine; and
  • Provide a second round of direct economic impact payments of $1,200 per taxpayer and $500 per dependent;

The text of the Heroes Act 2.0 is here. A one-pager on the legislation is here. A section-by-section summary is here. Additional information on the state and local relief provisions is here.


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