More Help Available for Venues Impacted by COVID-19 (Shuttered Venue)
Relief may soon be available to artistic venues impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program, venues affected by the pandemic may be eligible for grants equal to 45 percent of their gross earned revenue, with $10 million being the maximum amount available for a single grant award.
The SVOG program was created in December 2020 as part of the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act, P.L. 116-260. The program was initially funded with $15 billion and will receive an additional $1.25 billion under the American Rescue Plan Act, H.R. 1319.
Eligible entities covered under the program include:
- Live venue operators or promoters
- Theatrical producers
- Live performing arts organization operators
- Relevant museum operators, zoos, and aquariums that meet specific criteria
- Motion picture theater operators
- Talent representatives
- Each business entity owned by an eligible entity that also meets the eligibility requirements
Qualified entities must also have been in operation as of February 28, 2020, and have applied for or received a loan under the Paycheck Protection Program on or after December 27, 2020.
Grant funds may be used for 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 before February 15, 2020
- 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 (including fees and licensing)
- 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
Grant funds may not be used 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
The Small Business Administration (SBA) is currently setting up rules and procedures to govern the program and has not yet begun to accept applications. According to the SBA, the first round of applications will be limited to venues with the most significant losses:
- First priority (first 14 days of grant awards) will be limited to entities that suffered 90 percent or greater revenue losses between April 2020 through December 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Second priority (next 14 days of grant awards) will be limited to entities that suffered 70 percent or greater revenue losses between April 2020 through December 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Third priority (beginning 28 days after first and second priority awards) will be given to entities that suffered 25 percent or greater earned revenue losses between one quarter of 2019 and the corresponding quarter of 2020.
The program also permits grant recipients that suffered 70 percent or greater revenue losses for the most recent calendar quarter to reapply for additional funds.