Congressman Ron Estes (R-Kansas) toured Wichita's WAVE event venue Saturday to see firsthand the negative effects of COVID-19-related closures and to discuss the RESTART Act. "COVID-19 has had a disproportionate effect on the independent venue industry. The industry stands to lose $9 billion in ticket sales alone, not counting food and beverage purchases and 90% of these venues say they will have to close in the next few months without federal assistance," said Rep. Estes. "The RESTART Act would provide a lifeline to venues like WAVE, ensuring they can survive this pandemic and return to showcasing music in 2021." "Without emergency federal assistance, our $10 billion industry’s collapse is imminent," said Adam Hartke, co-chair of NIVA’s Advocacy Committee and president of Hartke Presents. "We were the first to close, have no revenue, but we still have all the colossal overhead of rent, mortgages, utilities, insurance and taxes. When NIVA members were recently surveyed, 90% said if the shutdown lasts six months or longer and there’s no federal help, they’ll shutter forever. The RESTART Act provides the assistance we need to get through the shutdown until we can reopen safely and once again become the economic generators for our communities that we’ve always been." A Chicago study last year showed that for every $1 spent on a ticket at a local venue, $12 of economic activity was generated for area businesses such as restaurants, retailers and hotels. "We need Congress to pass the RESTART Act before the August recess or there won't be any industry left to save in the fall." Rep. Estes is a cosponsor of H.R. 7481, the RESTART Act. This legislation would help independent venues and other businesses weather the storm of COVID-19 by providing long term loans of up to $12 million for payroll, rent, utilities, PPE and sanitation equipment to keep their business open and their workers employed and safe. The loans would cover theses costs for up to six months for businesses that employ fewer than 500 employees and have suffered a 25% or greater loss of revenue because of COVID-19. The loans would have a payback term of seven years and will carry no interest for the first two years. The loans are 100% forgivable for the businesses that use them to keep operating.