Actors Equity is praising the inclusion of help for entertainers in both the Senate (Majority Leader Mitch McConnell) and House (Speaker Nancy Pelosi) versions of a coronavirus aid package.
At press time Senate Democrats said they were on the "two yard line" on an agreement with the White House over a bill, while Senate Republicans were blaming Democrats for holding up vital aid.
But the union saw help from both sides.
"This has been a tough time for actors and entertainment workers – to say the least," said the union. "But here’s a little good news. Both the Senate and House bills have some important new protections for arts and entertainment workers."
Both the House and Senate bills have language that defines covered individuals in terms of unemployment insurance as anyone "scheduled to commence employment [who] does not have a job or is unable to reach the job," the union points out, because that place has closed down. "This would help arts and entertainment workers who were working and had productions shut down and those who accepted an offer of employment but had their show postponed," it pointed out.
Actors Equity called it a "huge deal," and said that it had pushed for emergency relief for the arts for two weeks, including via more than 27,000 letters to members of Congress.
That would include actors whose productions or venues are closed down.