They need help now.
That’s the message from John Fithian, head of the National Association of Theatre Owners, who is issuing a dire warning on behalf of the cinemas who make up his trade organization. Unless Congress passes “Save Our Stages,” a bipartisan effort to get billions of dollars of grants to concert venues and theaters hit hard by COVID-19 shutdowns, the exhibition industry will suffer from a devastating wave of bankruptcies and liquidations. Fithian says the clock is ticking and he is pushing for the bill to get passed in the “lame duck” session that will take place between November and Biden’s inauguration in January. Despite earning support from both Republicans and Democrats, that might be a tall order. “Save Our Stages” is part of a larger stimulus bill, the details of which are being fought over by the two parties, who remain very far apart.