AUSTIN, Texas - Live music and art venues, along with bars and restaurants, continue to be hit the hardest during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Thursday, the Austin City Council plans to vote on the SAVES (Save Austin's Vital Economic Sectors) resolution that could identify ways to support these businesses so they don't close for good.
A rally was held in front of city hall to show support for the resolution. People who came out to the rally say it's so important that the council passes this because Austin would be nothing without those businesses and the people who work for them.
"My venue's last night to operate was March 13," musician Ashley Pickell said. "I can remember finishing that night and walking out the door. To close, I stopped and I took a long breath and I said goodbye."
Pickell was one of the dozens who flooded the rally to save Austin's live music scene and she's not the only one who had that experience.
"Raise your hand, keep it up. If you're a bartender. Keep your hands up. Raise your hand if you work in production. Raise your hand if you're a musician," rally organizer Jeannette Gregor said. "Hey, guess what? You have value. You matter and this is not something that we've been hearing from the city."
On Thursday, Mayor Steve Adler plans to propose the resolution. If passed, it'll put funding options back on the table to help save businesses like live music venues, restaurants and bars. Austin residents say this could be a lifeline for the city's live music industry.
"If our leaders continue to mishandled this crisis, our beloved city will be a pale comparison of its former self And it'll lose the right to claim live music capital of the world," musician Lauryn Gould said. "My heart breaks a little bit more every day that I cant make music with the people that I love, or the people I love, or be a part of that irreplaceable magic and joy that comes with it."
A University of Houston Hobby School of Public Affairs survey conducted by the Austin Chamber of Commerce and the Opening Central Texas for Business Task Force showed out of 52 music venues, 62 percent said they wouldn't make it to Halloween. With that only being a month away, musicians at the rally say the resolution would help all of Austin.
"If none of us can work, we all lose our jobs and we all move away, then people will stop, stop coming here," musician Mike Wiebe said. "They'll stop coming to the bars. Everything will shut down, Austin is live music and we need help right now. We need help right now and we need the city to help us."
The city did have aid for small businesses called the Austin Music Disaster Relief Fund, but the city is no longer accepting applications.
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