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Federal grant to provide aid for shuttered venues during the pandemic

While small businesses across the nation continue to wait for more financial aid from the federal government, a new grant established by the December stimulus bill passed by Congress can help ease the burden of venue owners during the pandemic. The Shuttered Venue Operators (SVO) Grant will provide $15 billion in emergency assistance for eligible venues affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and be administered by the Small Business Administration’s Office of Disaster Assistance.

Eligible applicants may qualify for SVO Grants equal to 45% of their gross earned revenue, with the maximum amount available for a single grant award of $10 million. A total of $2 billion is reserved for eligible applications with up to 50 full-time employees.

The Small Business Administration is not yet accepting applications for the program, but it’s important to get your small business ready to apply as soon as the program launches. Below you will find preliminary information and eligibility requirements. We will update with more information as it becomes available.

Who can apply?

  • Live venue operators or promoter
  • Theatrical producers
  • Live performing arts organization operators
  • Relevant museum operators, zoos and aquariums that meet specific criteria
  • Motion picture theater operators
  • Talent representatives, and
  • Each business entity owned by an eligible entity that also meets the eligibility requirements
  • Must have been in operation as of February 29, 2020
  • Venue or promoter must not have received a PPP loan on or after December 27, 2020

Eligibility

Businesses who have suffered the greatest economic loss will be the first applications processed under the following schedule:

  • First Priority (1st 14 days of grant awards): Entities that suffered a 90% or greater revenue loss between April 2020 through December 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Second Priority (Next 14 days of grant awards): Entities that suffered a 70% or greater revenue loss between April 2020 through December 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Third Priority (Beginning 28 days after First & Second Priority Awards are made): Entities that suffered a 25% or greater revenue loss between one quarter of 2019 and the corresponding quarter of 2020.
  • Supplemental Funding (Available after all Priority Periods have passed): Recipients of First, Second, and Third Priority round awards who suffered a 70% or greater revenue loss for the most recent calendar quarter (as of 04-01-21 or later).

Grant amount will be either:

  • For an eligible entity in operation on January 1, 2019, grants will be for an amount equal to 45% of their 2019 gross earned revenue OR $10 million, whichever is less.
  • For an eligible entity that began operation after January 1, 2019, grants will be for the average monthly gross revenue for each full month you were in operation during 2019 multiplied by six (6) OR $10 million, whichever is less.

Allowed use of funds

Funds may be used for specific expenses, which include:

  • Payroll costs
  • Rent payments
  • Utility payments
  • Scheduled mortgage payments (not including prepayment of principal)
  • Scheduled debt payments (not including prepayment of principal) on any indebtedness incurred in the ordinary course of business prior to 02-15-20)
  • Worker protection expenditures
  • Payments to independent contractors (not to exceed $100K in annual compensation per contractor)
  • Other ordinary and necessary business expenses, including maintenance costs
  • Administrative costs (incl. fees and licensing)
  • State and local taxes and fees
  • Operating leases in effect as of 02-15-20
  • Insurance payments
  • Advertising, production transportation, and capital expenditures related to producing a theatrical or live performing arts production. (May not be the primary use of funds.) 

Grantees may NOT use award funds to:

  • Buy real estate
  • Make payments on loans originated after February 15, 2020
  • Make investments or loans
  • Make contributions or other payments to, or on behalf of, political parties, political committees, or candidates for election
  • Any other use prohibited by the Administrator

NOTE: While we continue to wait for more information about the SVO grant, please visit our loans and grants portal to find a list of national, state and local resources on emergency loans and grants near you.

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