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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 provides $15 billion in emergency assistance for eligible venues affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and is administered by the Small Business Administration’s Office of Disaster Assistance.

The SVO Grant is no longer accepting new applications as of August 20, 2021. However, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has announced a supplemental grant program for SVO grant recipients, and will be sending invitations for supplemental awards. SVOG supplemental awards are to be provided to those who received an initial grant and can demonstrate a 70% loss when comparing 2021’s first-quarter revenues to the same in 2019.

Additionally, to ensure no eligible venue is left behind, the SBA is currently accepting, by invitation only, applications for reconsideration of award amounts and appeals. This opportunity gives applicants a chance to prove their eligibility and reverse a prior decision.  Should the need arise, the SBA may reopen the portal or make other adjustments to its plan.

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.

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 requirements:

  • Business was fully operational on February 29, 2020
  • Must demonstrate a 25% reduction from the gross earned revenue of such business during the corresponding quarter in 2019
  • Has not received on or after December 27, 2020 any loan under the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

See the full list of eligibility requirements here.

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

To view a preliminary application checklist and the types of venues allowed to apply as defined by the SBA, click here.

NOTE: 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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