Coronavirus in Oklahoma: With tonight's Red Alert Restart, event companies to light up local venues to raise awareness for RESTART Act
Several Oklahoma companies that work on live events are raising awareness today around stalled legislation to support the hard-hit events and entertainment industry.
Toucan Productions, Edge Productions, Cory’s Audio Visual, CNS Productions, factor 110, Epic Events, Baker Boys and more will join together today to draw attention to venues across the city using lights, lasers, LED technology, projection, and more as a part of the Red Alert Restart campaign happening across the country.
Some of the participating venues and iconic structures include the Oklahoma City Civic Center, Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center, the Oklahoma Hall of Fame at Gaylord-Pickens Museum, Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma, the Myriad Garden’s Crystal Bridge, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, The Criterion, the American Banjo Museum, the Choctaw Casino, Rose State College and the Embassy Suites Downtown OKC/Medical Center.
The Red Alert Restart campaign focuses on urging Congress to pass an economic relief package for the struggling live events and entertainment industry. Nationwide, more than 1,500 venues in 35 cities will be illuminated red, according to a news release.
All illuminations will begin at 9 p.m. and will end at midnight.
“Helping the live events and entertainment industry should really be of interest to all Oklahomans,” said Brad Poarch, CEO of Cory’s Audio Visual, in a statement. “Nationwide, there are more than 12 million people employed by the industry and nearly a trillion dollar economic impact, making up more than six percent of our nation’s overall gross domestic product.”
The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the industry goes far beyond event venues, production companies and event planners. Catering staff, decorators, riggers, stage laborers, entertainers and even businesses located near event venues also have fallen victim to substantial financial and employment loss.
More than 96 percent of live event companies have been forced to cut their staff leaving 77 percent of people in the industry without any household income, according to the news release.
Oklahoma businesses are no exception to these statistics. With the cancellation of concerts, corporate events, trade shows, weddings and festivals, it is unclear what the live events industry will look like in the fallout from COVID-19.
Companies are hoping enough people will reach out to their member of Congress to vote on behalf of the Restart Act, which will help the events industry survive, according to the news release.
“The events industry is truly fighting for its life,” said Brian Ferrell, president of 110 events and factor 110, in a statement. “While many of us are working to pivot our services, the truth is that most of us have made some of the toughest decisions of our careers to help keep our businesses afloat. Our industry was one of the first to completely and abruptly shut down and unfortunately will be one of the last to return to operations.”
These companies are asking the public to reach out to members of Congress and help spread awareness for the Restart Act.
The Oklahoman's Steve Lackmeyer recently wrote about the Restart Act, which would provide financial assistance, tax credits and extended unemployment benefits for small independent performance venues and other small businesses facing long-term hardship due to COVID-19. Oklahoma Rep. Kendra Horn is one of several U.S. representatives and senators looking at how best to rescue the industry before venues nationwide start to close. To read Steve's story about the havoc COVID-19 has wreaked on local independent venues, click here.
About Red Alert Restart
Red Alert Restart is a passionate team of industry professionals, with a goal: To bring much-needed attention to the fact that we were the first to be shut down by COVID19, and will be the last to return. The organization is asking the public to support its mission and for government officials to adopt the RESTART Act, and a continuation and/or extension of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which provides additional funding to those who are currently out of work. The campaign uses the hash tags #SaveLiveEvents, #WeMakeEvents, #RedAlertRESTART and #ExtendPUA.