(Joe Lanane)

Austin musicians and venue owners rally outside City Hall for COVID-19 relief in the wake of the pandemic Monday.

Music venues and other businesses deemed vital to Austin's culture and vitality were given a $15 million lifeline Thursday.


Austin City Council unanimously approved the SAVES Resolution, which allocated COVID-19 relief money evenly among three major funds:

  • $5 million: Music Venue Preservation Fund
  • $5 million: Austin Legacy Business Relief Grant
  • $5 million: Austin Childcare Provider Relief Grant

Music venues qualify for the first two funds, making them technically eligible for up to $10 million in relief money—the amount that advocates requested earlier this week during a City Hall rally. The extra support for music venues recognizes the special place they have in the community, Austin Mayor Steve Adler said.

Qualifying restaurants, bars and art organizations will also receive money from the Austin Legacy Business Relief Grant. Similarly, the Austin Childcare Provider Relief Grant will support both in-home and center-based providers.

A city spokesperson confirmed the qualifications and process for applying will be established "in due course." The actions approved Thursday by council members allow city staff to proceed as outlined in a memo issued Monday.

Where does all this money come from? City staff proposals were revised slightly, landing on these three major sources:

  • $8.5 million: Sales tax revenues
  • $6 million: Financial Services Department Capital Budget
  • $500,000: Building Services Department Capital Budget

Other relief funding sources, mostly proposed by Council Member Kathie Tovo, could come back to the council in the next month to fund a Business Preservation Fund and Live Music Fund. Council Member Greg Casar also asked staff to ensure there is a "fair and inclusive" distribution process, which is laid out to applicants in a transparent manner. City staff said that emphasis is already in place.


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Musicians rally at City Hall for COVID-19 relief (Joe Lanane)
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