Freeman Calls For Immediate Action To Protect Event Industry Jobs

March 26, 2020

The impacts of COVID-19 have been devastating on the live events industry, which was immediately forced to halt work overnight for most employees. Using industry data provided by the U.S. Travel Association and the Center for Exhibition Industry Research, Freeman estimates the cessation of business events, due to quarantines and other mitigation remedies, will cost the business events industry $118 billion in 2020, based on preliminary projections.

“We estimate that this pandemic will result in a loss of more than a million jobs due to canceled events alone, and we need to rally together to make sure these voices are heard,” said Bob Priest-Heck, CEO of Freeman, the world’s leading live events and brand experience company. “The live events ecosystem helps nurture, incubate and promote millions of small businesses who rely on live events to achieve not only their own goals, but to promote new technologies, new inventions, new cancer treatments — we connect people who are changing the world.”

As federal leaders deliberate over the details of the current stimulus bill, Freeman is calling for Congress to address this industry crisis by:

  • Earmarking $10 billion specifically for the business events industry to help the industry support activities that: keep people working, ensure the viability of the millions of small businesses who work in the events industry, and promote the industry to accelerate recovery.
  • Ensuring that proposed measures to offer employee retention credit for all impacted businesses, that are intended to reduce furloughs and layoffs and ease demand on unemployment expenses, are retained in the final bill.
  • Creating new tax credits to encourage travel and the promotion of the business events industry and restoring entertainment business expense deductions, specifically for business events that resume once the crisis is over.
  • Boosting community development block grants to areas most impacted, including convention centers, hotels, and hotel conference centers.

“Ours is a business that is driven by its employees and the relief Congress can offer will directly enable us to put people to work and accelerate the recovery we know will come,” said Priest-Heck. “In 2019, our industry employed 3 million workers directly, with a total impact of 7 million jobs. We need to know these people will be able to get back to work.”

To find out how you can help advocate for the live events industry, please visit the Freeman Coronavirus resource page.

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