TIFFIN, Ohio — The pandemic has been nearly catastrophic to the live entertainment industry as many regional theaters took a major hit.
Built in 1928, the Ritz Theatre has been a cornerstone of the Tiffin community for decades.
After operating as solely a movie theater until 1979, the Ritz now hosts 60 events a year from internationally known musical acts, down to community theater productions and dance recitals.
Executive director Michael Strong said during a normal year, about 30% of their theater goers come in from outside of the Northwest Ohio region.
"We provide a little over 1 million dollars in economic activity to this region. So, being closed has really hurt us, hurt the other businesses around town like the restaurants and the hotels, and it's made things pretty distressing," said Strong
With the ongoing pandemic, The Ritz hasn't hosted any events for months, while staff has remained busy issuing refunds and trying to reschedule events.
They have used some emergency loans to stay in operation and have been living off of donations and savings.
But Strong said they are very optimistic for the federal bi-partisan Save Our Stages Act, that would designate $10 billion from the Small Business Administration to be used to as relief funds for live event venues.
"This theater means so much to this community, and I think we would be lost without it, to be honest," said Strong.
The Ritz Theatre is currently planning to hosting a few smaller indoor events in October. But those events are not meant to help pay the bills, but just to get people back through their doors again.