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Austin Music Venues Worry The COVID-19 Pandemic Could Leave Them Shuttered Permanently

Barracuda music venue in the Red River Cultural District
Julia Reihs
Music venues in Austin worry the coronavirus pandemic could force them to close for good, unless they receive immediate financial help from the city.

Businesses across Austin were temporarily forced to close their doors at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Some businesses are slowly reopening with limited capacity, while others have pivoted to drive-thru or curbside sales only. But there are doors that will stay closed permanently, including restaurants like Shady Grove and the original Threadgill's, which served Austin for almost 90 years.

The pandemic shutdown is also threatening cultural landmarks. After 35 years in Austin, Vulcan Video closed up shop last month for good.

Leaders of some Austin music venues are worried they could be next unless the city steps in. On Tuesday, they delivered a six-page policy proposal to City Council members, asking for immediate and long-term help for music venues.

Chad Swiatecki wrote about the proposal for KUT's reporting partner, the Austin Monitor. He says "the 54 primary music venues as defined by the local Music Venue Alliance average about $40,000 in non-staff overhead each month." That means it would cost about $2 million just to keep venues afloat before any kind of phased reopening.

He talked with KUT about the proposal. Listen to the conversation.

Got a tip? Email Jerry Quijano Follow him on Twitter @jerryquijano.

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Jerry Quijano is the local All Things Considered anchor for KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @jerryquijano.
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