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Poll Finds $250M Loss For Mass. Cultural Businesses In Pandemic's 1st Month

A new survey indicates Massachusetts cultural businesses have lost more than $250,000,000 in revenue since mid-March. 

Seven hundred organizations replied to the Mass Cultural Council poll — the second it has conducted since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the region. 

More than half of the businesses reported layoffs and pay cuts affecting at least 15,000 jobs.   

Fifty-one cultural organizations don't pay into unemployment, according to the poll, and 25 affirmed they had a financial liability for their employees to receive unemployment assistance.

Steven Goldsher, who owns Hawks and Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield, estimates the business lost $100,000 in the past month, with no ticket or beverage sales. 

“It’s lost revenue coming in the door, as well as we do a fair amount of private events,” he said. 

Steven Goldsher, owner of Hawks and Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield, Massachusetts.
Credit Contributed / Greenfield Recorder / recorder.com
Greenfield Recorder / recorder.com
Steven Goldsher, owner of Hawks and Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield, Massachusetts.

Space has already been reserved for birthday parties, a memorial event and a prom, Goldsher said, then canceled because of the coronavirus.

Also lost for now: deposits made on several bands, booked to play at Hawks and Reed this spring.

Hawks and Reed employed seven people.

Goldsher, like many others, is applying for a federal business loan so he can get staff back on payroll, he said, and cover the utilities. 

Jill Kaufman has been a reporter and host at NEPM since 2005. Before that she spent 10 years at WBUR in Boston, producing "The Connection" with Christopher Lydon and on "Morning Edition" reporting and hosting. She's also hosted NHPR's daily talk show "The Exhange" and was an editor at PRX's "The World."
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