Amid the opening up of the Small Business Administration (SBA) "Save Our Stages" online application for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer confirms about 6,000 applications have already been filed in the first five hours of the program, with more than 8,000 additional applications being worked on.
He is urging New York stages and other venues and cultural institutions to ready their paperwork, log on to the SBA.gov website for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program and file an application for their relief.
“Knowing the SBA has already received 6,000 applications, with over 8,000 additional requests in the works, for stages and venue relief shows both the need that exists, but also the desire to bring back a variety of venues, entertainment and arts options that make New York one of the greatest states – and strongest economies,” Senator Schumer said. “So, I am urging New York stages to ready their documents, log onto the SBA site and file applications for their relief. The shows will go on!”
Schumer successfully fought to include $15 billion in the end-of-year COVID-19 relief bill in December for the "Save Our Stages" (SOS) program to provide national assistance for independent live venue operators, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions such as live performing arts organizations and museums that have been significantly impacted by the economic effects of the COVID-19 crisis.
The American Rescue Plan that passed into law in March included an additional $1.25 billion for the program following Schumer’s efforts to add more money to the national pot. Schumer says that New York will receive the lion’s share of the total national pot and that the legislation will provide temporary relief not only to the venues, but also to the employees, promoters, managers, producers, and entertainers that support them.
Specifically, the COVID relief package created a new Small Business Administration (SBA) grant program which independent live venue operators, promoters, producers, talent representatives, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions are eligible for.
To be eligible, an entity must have experienced at least 25 percent lost revenue due to COVID-19. Schumer said the SBA grants are designed to provide up to six months of financial support that could be used to keep employees paid and New York’s prized cultural hubs open for business.
“Independent venues, like theaters and concert halls, are the beating heart of New York’s cultural life and a driving force across our economy,” Schumer said. “Our local stages, from those on Broadway to the ones in Binghamton, Buffalo, and everywhere in between, were among the first to shut down at the start of the pandemic, are struggling to stay afloat, and will be among the last to fully reopen—so they need this SOS relief, and I want to make sure they apply.”
Specifically, the new program includes the following components:
- Creates a new grant program at the Small Business Administration to provide assistance to independent live venue operators, promoters, producers, talent representatives, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions.
- Permits recipients to use grants for various costs, including those associated with COVID-19:
-- Rent, utilities, mortgage obligations, payments to contractors, regular maintenance, administrative costs, taxes, operating leases; and
-- PPE procurement, capital expenditures related to meeting state, local, or federal social distancing guidelines.
- Grants are narrowly targeted and appropriately calculated to provide 6 months of operating assistance for small and independent live venue operators and their industry partners.
-- Grants are equal to the lesser of 45 percent of gross revenue during 2019; or
-- $10 million.
- To ensure the hardest hit of eligible applicants receive assistance, there are two priority application periods. The first 14 days, only eligible entities that have lost more than 90 percent of gross revenue can apply. The next 14 days, only eligible entities that have lost more than 70 percent can apply. A reserve of 20 percent of overall appropriated funds, $3 billion out of the $15 billion provided, will remain available for all other eligible entities to apply for after 28 days.
- There is a $2 billion set-aside of funds for eligible entities with 50 or fewer employees to ensure smaller applicants are not left out.
- An entity is still eligible for a grant if they have received a PPP loan prior to implementation of the program, but the entity may not receive a PPP loan and a grant after implementation of the program.
More details on the SBA program, including the application, can be found here.