New COVID Relief Bill Earmarks $15B for Movie Theaters and Live Event Venues

The US Capitol
MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

The compromise bill also expands eligibility for the Paycheck Protection Program to include some local TV and radio stations.

Republican and Democratic leaders in the House and Senate announced on Sunday a compromise COVID-19 relief bill, a bill that if passed and signed by President Trump will provide financial support to a number of companies in the entertainment space.

The bill includes $15 billion earmarked specifically for live event venues, independent movie theaters and cultural institutions, all businesses hit hard by the pandemic. It also expands the eligibility of the Paycheck Protection Program to include local TV and radio broadcasters, as well as newspapers.

The $900 billion bill also provides direct payments of $600 per person to American families, as well as some support for local municipalities and money for vaccine distribution, among other things.

The bill itself is still being written, but a vote is expected Monday. It still needs to pass both the House and Senate, and to be signed into law by Trump.

As is often the case with compromise bills like this one, the devil may be in the details. It is still unclear what movie theaters would qualify as "independent" and what TV stations would be eligible for PPP. Those details should be released in the final text of the bill.

The deal does not include liability protections for businesses, a matter some in Hollywood were pushing for. That issue was initially a "red line" for Republicans, as it would toughen the rules around whether an employer is liable if employees contract the disease while on the job.