Now Is The Time To Rally For A Second Round Of PPP Funding: Guest Post

– Michael T. Strickland
Below is a guest post from Michael Strickland, chair and founder of Bandit Lites, who over the past several months has been liaising with numerous elected officials on behalf of the live entertainment industry. 
Over the last several weeks myself and many of my entertainment industry colleagues have provided a constant campaign of letters to our Congresspeople and Senators in order to make them aware of the situation that the live entertainment industry is currently in. Because of the medical and political consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic – specifically strict governmental regulations in many cities and states – live events are unable to occur in a manner that allows our industry to sustain itself. Thus, the live event industry sits dormant, with zero income. Many now believe we will mostly be shuttered until the end of 2020.
Because our industry has been effectively “legislated” out of business we are dependent on the Federal Government for additional funding to remain in existence. There is simply no other option for most firms and individuals. 
The funding needed can and should be delivered in the form of a forgivable grant. The simplest way would be to issue a second, 20-week round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding so that all the firms and people in the industry need to do is execute a second note under the same terms as the original PPP and the subsequent changes.
Congress is currently in recess until July 19, but from July 20 to Aug. 9 legislators will work toward a 4th Relief Bill.
As I understand it, the additional funding from this Relief Bill will be reserved for a narrow group of businesses, potentially including those in our industry. Current requirements to gain access to another round of PPP funding seem to be as follows:
1. You must have obtained a prior PPP loan
2. You must have lost 50% or greater of your income.
3. You must have spent all of your prior PPP
4. You must have 100 or fewer employees per location
5. Loan maximum not yet determined.
This criteria seems to fit most of our industry. Individuals would be able to apply as well as businesses. This endeavor is currently being discussed by those with the power to legislate it and seems to have wide, bi-partisan support in both the House and the Senate.
There are two items we need to push for:
1. Funding that will last to end of the year.
2. Getting the bill passed quickly so money can be in hands of businesses by mid-August.
As this is now part of the larger relief bill, there are many other issues involved. A bill this large and complex will and does take time. Many details do not concern our industry, but they may and probably will slow the process down. There may be some form of enhanced unemployment that might cap the amount a person receives so they are not paid more to not work than they are paid to work.
The bottom line to all of this is that our industry needs to see some form of relief by mid-August. In order to assure this I am asking everyone who reads this article to take action by visiting the following website and finding your Congressperson and Senators: Once on your representative’s website, find the area to contact them. After filling out the required identification information, you can cut and paste the sample letter I have provided below into the message section. Please remember to insert the name of the person you are writing at the top of this message and to include your own information at the bottom. 
It will also help our cause if you forward this article to as many people as possible. Every co-worker, friend, and associate that you know. Our strength is in numbers and the more letters the Congresspeople and Senators receive, the louder our voice is.
The following people have been engaged and involved in working toward additional small business funding: Senators Rubio, Coons, Cardin, Alexander, Blackburn and Shaheen and Congresspeople Hollingsworth, Craig and Delgado. Secretary of the Treasury Mnuchin is leading the effort. Others are also involved as well. We as an industry need to connect with our legislators and let them know what our needs are. If you have a personal relationship with any of these people, reach out. Any method of communication is a good one. The sheer size of our thousands of companies and over 10 million people out of work is the message we must deliver.
Thanks in advance for your efforts. Together we will achieve our goal of additional funding for our industry.
Thank you and be safe
Michael T. Strickland
Bandit Lites 
July 7, 2020
Dear Senator / Congressperson XXXXXXX,
I am writing you concerning the survival of the Live Entertainment Industry. Please consider the following:
1. The Live Entertainment Industry is a  38 billion dollar a year industry with over 10 million people working in the industry.
2. The Live Entertainment Industry will have zero income until January 2021.
To survive, the Live Entertainment Industry must have the following PPP Expansion from the SBA.
1. An additional 20-week PPP fund to be provided to all firms that received the initial PPP. This will allow firms to pay employees until December 31, 2020.
2. This funding needs to be in the hands of the industry by August 14, 2020.
3. Full liability protection from all COVID 19 legal actions.
The new tranche of PPP will not require any additional vetting, but simply the execution of new notes under the same conditions as the original notes. This new PPP is needed for all the Live Entertainment Industry firms to survive while at zero income.
Absent this relief, the entire industry will cease to exist. 
Time is of the essence as the original PPP funding expired June 15, 2020.
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