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Actors Equity Praises Coronavirus Bill Coverage for Arts

Actors Equity is praising the inclusion of help for entertainers in both the Senate (Majority Leader Mitch McConnell) and House (Speaker Nancy Pelosi) versions of a coronavirus aid package. 

At press time Senate Democrats said they were on the "two yard line" on an agreement with the White House over a bill, while Senate Republicans were blaming Democrats for holding up vital aid. 

Related: Performers Groups Seek Piece of Coronavirus Aid Package 

But the union saw help from both sides. 

"This has been a tough time for actors and entertainment workers – to say the least," said the union. "But here’s a little good news. Both the Senate and House bills have some important new protections for arts and entertainment workers." 

Both the House and Senate bills have language that defines covered individuals in terms of unemployment insurance as anyone "scheduled to commence employment [who] does not have a job or is unable to reach the job," the union points out, because that place has closed down. "This would help arts and entertainment workers who were working and had productions shut down and those who accepted an offer of employment but had their show postponed," it pointed out. 

Actors Equity called it a "huge deal," and said that it had pushed for emergency relief for the arts for two weeks, including via more than 27,000 letters to members of Congress. 

That would include actors whose productions or venues are closed down.

John Eggerton
John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.