Relief Portal for Shuttered Venue Operators Has Reopened
Live entertainment has been one of the hardest hit industries in the more than a year of COVID-19 restrictions. Venue operators, producers and arts organizations felt some relief when a $15 billion grant program was established through the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act on December 27, 2020. An additional $1.25 billion was added to the fund in March 2020 through the American Rescue Plan Act.
However, when the Small Business Administration (SBA) opened the online portal for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program on April 8, 2021, technical glitches caused the system to crash without accepting a single application.
The portal reopened on Saturday, April 24 and is taking applications for the first 14 days from First Priority applicants - entities that suffered 90% or greater gross revenue loss between April 2020 and December 2020.
Who Can Apply?
Groups eligible for SVOG grants include live venue operators or promoters, theatrical producers, live performing arts organization operators, museum operators, motion picture theater operators (including owners) and talent representatives. To qualify, entities must have been in operation as of February 29, 2020.
Organizations in operation as of January 1, 2019 are eligible for an amount equal to 45% of their 2019 gross earned revenue less any PPP loan received after December 27, 2020. Entities that started after January 1, 2019 are eligible for the average monthly gross earned revenue for each full month of operation in 2019 multiplied by six or $10 million, whichever is less.
Venues or operators who received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans on or after December 27, 2020, will have SVOG funds reduced by the PPP loan amount.
Use of Funds
Funds from SVOG grants can be used for the following expenses:
- Mortgage payments (excluding prepayment of principal)
- Scheduled debt payments (excluding prepayments of debts incurred before February 15, 2020)
- Worker protection expenses
- Payments to independent contractors (not to exceed $100,000 per individual employee or contactor)
- Administrative costs
- State and local taxes and fees
- Operating leases in effect as of February 15, 2020
- Advertising, production transportation, and capital expenses related to producing a theatrical or live performing arts production (cannot be primary use of funds).
SVOG funds cannot be used to buy real estate, make payments on loans originated after February 15, 2020, make investments or loans, or make contributions to political candidates.
How to Apply
To access the SBA’s online portal, click here:
To complete the grant application, organizations will need a Data Universal Number System (DUNS) number. The SBA also recommends that applicants gather documents in advance that demonstrate their employee count, monthly revenues and gross revenue loss between 2019 and 2020.
Following the first 14 days of dedication to entities in the First Priority category, the next 14 days will be open for groups in the Second Priority or those that suffered 70% or greater gross revenue loss between April 2020 and December 2020.
Beginning 28 days after those two groups have been awarded grants, Third Priority applicants can request funds. Entities in this category must have suffered a 25% or greater revenue loss between one quarter of 2019 and the corresponding quarter in 2020.
Once all priority periods have passed, supplemental funds will be made available to all grant recipients who suffered a 70% or greater revenue loss for the most recent calendar quarter (as of April 1, 2021, or later).
Given the early technical difficulties experienced with the portal, the SBA is operating a 24/7 call center to help with technical issues until demand subsides. The number is 1-800-659-2955 and, for the deaf or hard-of-hearing 1-800-877-8339.
To help guide SVOG applicants through the online portal, the SBA has released several rounds of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). The latest 41-page update was posted on April 23 and can accessed here:
Continue to check www.herbein.com for further updates or reach out to your Herbein advisor at firstname.lastname@example.org.