San Diego Event Workers Unite At The Empty Event Rally To Fight For Industry Support

As a result of the Covid-19 Pandemic, businesses, employees and attendees have faced the catastrophic effects of bans on mass gatherings. With over 12 million people unemployed from the events industry, making up 33% of all unemployed nationwide, the events industry was the first to be impacted by pandemic related restrictions and will be last to enter reopening phases. San Diego will join in a national effort to rally support for the events industry on Thursday, August 13 at 2:00 PM by hosting a socially-distanced Empty Event Rally.

The hospitality and events industry in San Diego consists of over 199,890 professionals in the event space, and visitors who attend conferences and events generated nearly $329 million in occupancy tax revenue for the fiscal year July 2018-June 2019.

The forced cancellation of tens of thousands of San Diego events has resulted in mass layoffs, high unemployment rates for the industry, the looming reality of small business closures and catastrophic economic corrosion.  A group of local event planners, venues and vendors have formed the San Diego Events Coalition focusing on creating a safe road map for future events and campaigning for financial assistance for businesses and employees until events are possible again.

The Empty Event Rally will be held in front of the County Administration Center at the Waterfront Park and will feature 48 tables each representing 250,000 Events Industry workers out of work due to Covid-19 with 480 empty seats representing the positions of those workers that cannot be performed.

Both in-person and virtual comments will be made by local elected officials and industry leaders expressing the vital need for urgent action to Save Live Events and the grave impact the decimation of this industry will have on the local and national economies. The total Government shutdown of events means the industry has been uniquely and disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, with no certainty of a change in the foreseeable future.

Meetings and events contribute over $1 Trillion to the United States Economy and now are expected to lose up to 80% of overall revenue. While there is no expectation for mass gatherings to be permitted at this time, it is imperative that legislators, policy makers, and those who influence them understand the extent of the damage to the industry and the need for assistance.

The San Diego Events Coalition stands with an alliance of events industry professionals, spearheaded by the Live Events Coalition, in requesting relief in the following key areas to keep the industry alive:

  • An updated and improved PPP program allowing for second round forgivable funding and designed with special consideration for the events industry and industry workers.
  • Ability for event businesses to reapply for additional EIDL funding based on need.
  • Additional aid on the Federal level targeted to support the events industry.
  • Extension of additional unemployment benefits.
  • Twenty percent of San Diego County Grant funds set aside for the events industry, allocating funds based on the industries most severely impacted.
  • Priority made to defining a road map to safely reopening events in collaboration with industry leaders.

Bring your mask, bring your sign and bring your voice!

All San Diegans impacted by the current restrictions on events are encouraged to join in the Rally. Bring your mask, bring your sign and bring your voice! We expect to see not only thousands of unemployed event workers and struggling small business owners, but also the general public who want to see their favorite events come back to life in the future. Events are economic drivers of our community, vital fundraisers for local charities and spaces for magical memories to be made.

For more information and the latest updates on the Empty Event Rally, please visit HERE and follow along on social media @SDEventCoalition.

San Diego Community Event Coalition:

·        Ahna Covell – Diamond Environmental Services

·        Amy Ulkutekin – First Comes Love / Best Coast Beer Fest

·        Angela Landsberg – North Park Main Street

·        Angela Verdenacci – Event Factory SD

·        Bob Leyh – San Diego Pride

·        Brad Donaldson – Prosystems

·        Erin Regan Kaminski – Bright Event Rentals

·        Catherine Miller – Gator by the Bay

·        Curt Brooker – ArtWalk San Diego

·        Fernando Lopez – San Diego Pride

·        Golan Silverman – Raphaels Party Rentals

·        Ken Loyst – Fast Forward Events

·        Kevin Hellman – SDS Events

·        Kila Bell Johnson – Del Mar Fairgrounds

·        Laurel McFarlane – McFarlane Promotions, Inc.

·        Martha Henderson – San Diego Pride

·        Michael Esposito – Snake Oil Cocktail Co. / JULEP venue

·        Michelle Metter – Fast Forward Events

·        Mike Kociela – SoCal Taco Fest

·        Peter Oliver – Gator by the Bay

·        Sandi Cottrell – ArtWalk San Diego

·        Sara Berns – Discover Pacific Beach

·        Sara Brown – Sara Brown Events

·        Zapher Dajani – Abbey Catering Company

See you there…..and stay healthy, San Diego!

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