How You Can Help
Head over to SaveOurStages.com and use their form to send letters to your Senators and Representatives on a national level, urging them to pass the Save Our Stages Act and the RESTART Act.
- Contact Governor Cuomo’s office, urging them to create guidelines for the safe reopening of performing arts centers.
- Find your NYS Senator and ask them for support, both financial and for getting a reopening timeline.
- Find your NYS Assembly Member and ask them for support, both financial and for getting a reopening timeline.
- Contact County Executive Steve Bellone at (631) 853-4000, and ask him for support, both financial and for getting a reopening timeline.
- Contact Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman.
- Contact Lee Zeldin and ask him for help getting a reopening timeline.
- Contact Kirsten Gillibrand and ask her for help getting a reopening timeline.
- Contact Chuck Schumer and thank him for his support, and ask him for further help getting a reopening timeline.
I urge you to create and publish transparent guidelines, as well as a realistic timeline, for safely reopening performing arts centers for live events. Our independent venues were the first to close, and have always accepted that they would be among the last to reopen – however, it seems that in the rush to reopen all other industries, they have been forgotten.
Local venues are economic engines. The Arts Action Fund cites the Arts & Culture sector generates $119.9 billion for New York’s economy – larger than both the construction industry and education services. A Chicago study estimated that $1 spent at a small venue resulted in $12 spent incidentally at nearby restaurants, hotels and retail shops. We would be remiss to overlook the effect a performing arts center has on a local economy, especially when a fair amount of Long Islanders rely on income from the service and hospitality industry.
As of August 26, New York State’s rate of positive tests has been below 1% for 19 days in a row. How many more days do we have to continue to break records before we even begin to plan for responsibly reopening living cultural touchstones?
Live events require a lot of organization, and without even a timeline of when they can reopen, performing arts centers are left in a stasis, a confused crisis that has an entire industry wondering, “Why not us, too?” Revenue for the year has, for some organizations, dropped by 90%, and the longer they are closed, the less certain they are sure they will even be able to reopen in the future.
Sitting in a theatre at a reduced capacity with 100% mask compliance is not inherently more risky than any other industry already allowed to operate (for example, restaurants, where diners do not have to wear masks while eating). Venues already diligently collect patron data like names, phone numbers, email addresses, and seat locations, making contact tracing that much easier should it be needed. With the proper precautions, experiencing a live performance can be a safe event, and one that has the potential to transform and lift the soul.
Live performance may not be a physiological necessity, but it is at the core of who we are as a people. It helps us define our very essence, and gets at something very primal and urgent within us. Humans have been performing for each other since they danced around the first fire.
Please reopen performing arts centers, before it’s too late. Thank you.
Sample Phone Call:
I am calling to urge the [senator/congressmen/governor, etc.] to support independent music venues and performing arts centers. There is currently no timeline in New York State for them to reopen, and many may be forced to close for good should they be unable to reopen soon. Local venues are economic engines, generating $119.9 billion for New York State’s economy. Other businesses have been allowed to reopen – please reopen performing arts centers, before it’s too late.