Shuttered Venue Operator Grants

UPDATE from the SBA 3/19/21: The SBA is launching a splash page for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) application portal in anticipation of opening applications for the much-anticipated critical economic relief program on Thursday, April 8, 2021.


“Help is here for venue operators hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. The SBA has worked diligently to build the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program from the ground up to assist and address the diverse eligibility requirements of each type of applicant and we will open for applications on April 8,” SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said. “The SBA knows these venues are critical to America's economy and understands how hard they've been impacted, as they were among the first to shutter. This vital economic aid will provide a much-needed lifeline for live venues, museums, movie theatres and many more.”


Prior to the official SVOG application opening, the SBA will host a national informational webinar to highlight the application process for potential eligible entities from 2:30 to 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, March 30, 2021. Those interested in participating can register here.


The SVOG program was established by the Economic Aid to Hard Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits and Venues Act, which appropriated $15 billion for it. The American Rescue Plan Act, signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11, 2021, appropriated an additional $1.25 billion, bringing the program funding to a total of $16.25 billion, with more than $16 billion allocated for grants.


To ensure eligible venues do not miss a window to receive assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program, the American Rescue Plan Act also amended the SVOG program so entities that apply for a PPP loan after Dec. 27, 2020, can also apply for an SVOG, with the eligible entity’s SVOG to be reduced by the PPP loan amount. The PPP loan applications have been updated to reflect this.


As the SBA builds and prepares to open the program, the dedicated SBA website, www.sba.gov/svogrant, which includes frequently asked questions, video tutorials and other SVOG details, is the best source for information for those looking to apply for a grant. To prepare in advance of the SVOG application portal opening on April 8, potential applicants should get registered in the federal government’s System for Award Management (SAM.gov), as this is required for an entity to receive an SVOG, and reference the preliminary application checklist and eligibility requirements.


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The American Rescue Plan Act appropriates $1.25 billion for shuttered venue operators. The grants are available to movie theaters, museums, performance venues, and other institutions whose principal business activity is live events. The grants are equal to the lesser of 45 percent of the venue's gross revenue in 2019 or $10 million. Another $15 billion was appropriated for shuttered venues in the last stimulus package that has not yet been tapped into, as the SBA has yet to enact the existing live-venue grant program.


PROGRAM DETAILS


The Shuttered Venue Operators (SVO) Grant program was established by the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act, signed into law on December 27, 2020.

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. $2 billion is reserved for eligible applications with up to 50 full-time employees.

AMOUNT OF SVO GRANT


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 earned revenue for each full month you were in operation during 2019 multiplied by six (6) OR $10 million, whichever is less.


HOW TO APPLY


SBA is in the process of setting up the grant program and is not yet accepting applications. Those who have suffered the greatest economic loss will be the first applications processed under the following schedule:


Note: On January 20, 2021, SBA updated the proposed plan for issuing Shuttered Venue Operators Grants during the first and second priority periods. To clarify, priority awardees will not need to satisfy the small employer set-aside. During the first 59 days of opening the SVO Grants, SBA will reserve no less than $2 billion of program funding for grants to entities that have no more than 50 employees.



ALLOWABLE 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 primary use of funds.)


GRANTEES MAY NOT USE AWARD FUNDS TO:

  • Buy real estate

  • Make payments on loans originated after 02-15-20

  • 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

GRANTEE RECORDKEEPING

Grantees will be required to maintain documentation demonstrating their compliance with the eligibility and other requirements of the SVO Grant program. They must retain employment records for four years following their receipt of a grant and retain all other records for three years.

The application will be posted HERE when it is made available.

Sign up for SBA alerts on Shuttered Venue Operator Grants.

SUPPLEMENTAL DOCUMENTS

o Shuttered Venue Operators Grants Frequently Asked Questions (revised 03-12-21)

o Eligibility requirements (published 03-05-21)

o Preliminary application checklist (revised 03-11-21)

o Cross program eligibility on SBA coronavirus relief options