Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program Will Open April 8

The Small Business Administration (SBA) recently announced that it will begin accepting applications for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program on April 8, 2021.

The SVOG program was authorized as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act signed into law on December 27, 2020. It allocated $15 billion for the SVOG program in an effort to help struggling entertainment venues, movie theaters, zoos, museums, and other cultural centers that have been impacted by the pandemic. The American Rescue Plan Act signed into law on March 11, 2021 appropriated an additional $1.25 billion to the program, bringing its funding total to $16.25 billion. $2 billion of that amount is earmarked for applicants with up to 50 full-time employees.

The program is designed to provide eligible applicants with grants equal to 45 percent of gross earned revenue, up to a maximum of $10 million. Organizations that received an SBA EIDL loan are eligible to apply for an SVOG. Plus, due to amendments made in the American Rescue Plan Act, any organization that applied for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan after December 27, 2020 can also apply for an SVOG; however, the eligible grant amount will be reduced by the amount of the PPP loan.

Eligible entities include live venue operators or promoters, theatrical producers, live performing arts organization operators, museum operators, motion picture theatre operators, and talent representatives that were in operation as of February 29, 2020. Subsidiaries owned by an eligible organization that meet eligibility requirements in their own rights will also qualify. Additionally, entities owned by state or local governments such as museums or historic homes are eligible to apply if the entity acts solely as a venue operator and does not include other types of entities.

Entities that would not be eligible for an SVOG include venues that do not have a defined performance and audience space; are publicly-traded or majority-owned or controlled by a publicly-traded corporation; received more than 10 percent of 2019 revenues from the federal government; do not operate primarily in the U.S; or own or operate venues in more than one country or more than ten states and had more than 500 employees as of February 29, 2020.

SVOG funds may be used for specific expenses, including:

  • Payroll costs
  • Rent and utility payments
  • Schedule mortgage and debt payments
  • Worker protection expenditures
  • Payments to independent contractors (not to exceed $100,000 in annual compensation per contractor)
  • Other ordinary business expenses, such as maintenance costs
  • Administrative costs
  • State and local taxes and fees
  • Operating leases in effect as of February 15, 2020
  • Insurance payments
  • Advertising, production transportation, and capital expenditures related to producing a theatrical or live performing arts production

In order to prepare for the grant application, the SBA has posted a preliminary application checklist. In addition, businesses need to register for a DUNS number and create an account on the System for Award Management’s website at SAM.gov.

The SBA has created a dedicated web page for the SVOG, which includes a detailed FAQ document that provides more detailed eligibility criteria as well as information about the application process and how the grant funds may be used. The web page also includes a link to a portal where you can sign up to be alerted when the application period opens.

The first 14 days of the application process will be reserved for venues that sustained a revenue loss of 90 percent or more between April 2020 and December 2020. The following 14 days will prioritize venues that sustained a revenue loss of 70 percent or more during that same time period. After that, the application process will be open to all entities with a 25 percent or greater earned revenue loss between one quarter of 2019 and the corresponding quarter of 2020.

The SBA will process applications in the order in which they are received within each priority period and the non-priority period.

This is anticipated to be a highly popular program, so it is critical for organizations to gather the necessary information in order to be ready to apply by April 8.

We are here to help as your organization prepares for the SVOG program. If you have any questions or would like assistance as you navigate the grant application process, please contact your Kreischer Miller relationship professional or any member of our Not-For-Profit Industry Group. We will continue to keep you updated as new developments emerge. For additional news and resources, visit our COVID-19 Resource Center here.

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