The entertainment industry throughout the world was devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, some folks are still feeling nervous about going into a theater filled with other people, vaccinated or not, for a two-hour performance. Some venues have already changed their operations, while others may not re-open. Help is on the way.

Montana Senator Jon Tester announced this week that over $8 million is being offered to Montana live venues, theatres and concert halls through the Small Business Administration Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program. He said additional grants are expected, too.

The funding includes $37,489 for the Hamilton Players and $321,241 for the Pharaohplex Theater. IN Missoula, $46,066 will go to Garden City Ballet, $3,785,303 to Logjam Presents LLC, $187,182 for the Missoula Downtown Association and $59,654 for Bill Printa LLC. Philipsburg Playhouse Productions will get $1,336 and Polson Theaters Inc. will receive $1,347,401. Funds will also be going to venues in Billings, Bozeman, Brownng, Butte, Cardwell, Circle, Ennis, Havre and Red Lodge.

Senator Tester said in a news release, "When this pandemic hit, Montana's live venues were the first to close their doors to help keep folks in our communities healthy, and now, more than a year later, they are among the last to reopen. I'm proud to have worked with these small businesses to ensure they have the resources they need to get Montanans back to work and support our local economies. These venues are irreplaceable, and I look forward to joining my fellow Montanans in taking in the live shows we've come to know and love."

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