Motion Picture Association Says Federal Virus Aid Package Provides "Critical Relief"

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A promotional stand for Disney's 'Mulan' in an almost empty shopping mall in Beijing on February 16, 2020. Disney has removed the film from its release schedule.

The $2.2 trillion package is a much-needed lifeline for the shuttered movie business.

As movie theaters across the United States remain dark, movie productions stay shuttered and thousands find themselves out of work for the near future, the Motion Picture Association welcomed the passage of federal aid Friday, hoping to bring urgently needed relief to the industry. 

“The Motion Picture Association applauds Secretary Mnuchin and Congress on the passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act," Charles Rivkin, chairman and CEO of the organization, said in a statement.

"The ongoing COVID-19 crisis is a threat to the entire global economy, including creative industries. In the United States alone, the film, television, and streaming industry supports 2.5 million jobs and 93,000 small businesses — 87 percent of which employ fewer than 10 people," Rivkin noted. "This bill provides critical relief for independent contractors, freelancers and small businesses who are the backbone of the entertainment industry and among those whose livelihoods are hardest hit by the current public health crisis. Industry stakeholders, including unions, guilds, and theater owners, worked tirelessly to achieve this important relief."

Rivkin added that the organization will continue to work with the government on the aid package to cater to the needs of those affected within the industry. 

The $2.2 trillion rescue package for the CARES Act is a much-needed lifeline for the nation that has ground to a halt to curb the spread of COVID-19 amid the global coronavirus pandemic. As more than 5,000 movie theaters shuttered, the movie industry asked Congress for assistance to keep the movie theater business and its employees afloat through the crisis. 

The package provides a onetime cash payment to most adults, expanded unemployment benefits including for freelance and gig workers, and aid to small and large businesses. It passed the Senate and prevailed in the House, and President Donald Trump is expected to sign the measure imminently.