Chicago area venues to go red for entertainment gig workers

A Tuesday night event aims to motivate Congress to pass a bill that extends the Paycheck Protection Program to support small businesses including the arts amid COVID-19.

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Rosemont’s Allstate Arena is one of the Chicago-area venues lit up in red to call attention to the livelihoods of entertainment gig workers amid COVID-19.

Frank Taylor Photo

Chicago area venue employees, gig workers, and union and congressional leaders are joining concerned citizens in over 60 North American cities to illuminate a select group of venues in red to raise awareness on how the COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the livelihoods of America’s entertainment workers.

A 9 p.m. Tuesday event at the Allstate Arena is a part of #WeMakeEvents’ Red Alert campaign, a nationwide effort to motivate Congress to pass the Reviving the Economy Sustainably Towards A Recovery in Twenty-twenty (RESTART) Act, a bill that guarantees loans to small businesses hit hard by COVID-19.

The bill aims to provide assistance, which can be utilized for payroll, rent, bills, and personal protective equipment to would-be recipients that have less than 500 full-time employees and endured a revenue decline of at least 25%.

Speakers are scheduled to include entertainment industry gig workers, labor leaders, community leaders and elected officials including Chicago Federation of Labor president Bob Reiter, Rosemont Mayor Brad Stephens, and Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Matteson), among others.

#WeMakeEvents, the event’s sponsor, is encouraging supporters to contact their local representatives via its website and post red-tinted photos (via LunaPic) of themselves at their favorite venue to their social media platforms utilizing the #RedAlertRESTART hashtag.

Also lit in red are other Chicago area venues where a lot of gig workers (actors/musicians/artists) ply their trade, including Soldier Field, the Chicago Theatre, Wintrust Arena, Navy Pier Centennial Wheel, and the Aragon Ballroom, among many others.

America’s live event industry, like many other industries, continues to take a devastating hit due to COVID-19. The live event industry is normally an $877 billion industry, according to the U.S. Dept of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis.

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