NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- If you had tickets to a canceled concert or were invited to a wedding or party postponed because of the pandemic, you know COVID-19 has hit the live entertainment industry hard. In fact, 85% of the industry's employees - everyone from DJ's to bartenders - have been furloughed.
In Trenton Tuesday, they made their voices heard - asking for assistance - and 7 On Your Side was there.
A host of professionals like stylists, stagehands, dancers and DJs were all in attendance. They couldn't have planned a worse outcome from the pandemic when the plug got pulled on the entire live event industry.
Evan Karfinkels has been building his business for 35 years. He started spinning vinyl at Canarsie High School and now runs EK Event Group in Staten Island, managing Bar Mitzvah bashes and charity events -- all 86'd or cancelled this year.
The live coalition of New York and New Jersey is asking for lawmakers to develop a task force, extend pandemic unemployment assistance and update the Paycheck Protection Program.
The Live Event Pros want a comprehensive reopening plan to safely begin indoor and outdoor events. Gerardi heads the local chapter and estimates his company Merge Event Management, which took in between $4-5 million doing worldwide live events and concerts in 2019, will be lucky to break $100,000 in 2020.
Many of those rallying at the capital are freelance or gig workers who haven't been hired since March, without economic injury disaster loans and other grants. They're not going to make it through another "no event " season on unemployment alone.
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