Metropolitan cinemas still await financial help to decrease

Metropolitan cinemas still await financial help to decrease

In a letter to Congress, the National Independent Venue Association asked why it is taking so long for the Small News Association to process the funding. As entertainment venues wait, paycheck protection program loans have gone out and Restaurant Revitalization funds have been received. There are nearly 15,000 venues across the country that have applied for the grant.

“We have had very limited availability to make payroll since January of this year,” Whitehead said. “Thankfully, we have been able to keep our hourly staff on wages or the work that they do, but our salary staff have been on cut wages and are still waiting to be made whole.” Whitehead said the venue lost most of its revenue during the pandemic. He believes the economic boost is essential to get things going again.

Tower Theatre is not the only business impacted. Businesses around the theatre — the restaurants, bars, Ubers and babysitters, for example – are also taking a hit. There is a smaller, yet still vital economy that thrives around live entertainment waiting to start up again. “We’ve got to pay back an awful lot of debt from the last year,” Tower Theatre operating partner Chad Whitehead said. “We have also not been able to do a lot of repairs on the building. A lot of things that just needed to be done.”

Whitehead said the Tower Theatre has not received a response. News 9 reached out to the Small News Administration several times Wednesday. We have not yet received a response. In their latest report Wednesday morning, the SBA said it has given out 90 grants, two to venues in Oklahoma.

They are the first in line to receive help. Similar to Tower Theatre, around 30 percent of those venues lost out on more than 90 percent of their revenue due to the pandemic.

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