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. The program includes $15 billion in grants to shuttered venues, to be administered by the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Disaster Assistance. This post provides an abbreviated update on the program and resources to prepare to apply when the SBA begins accepting applications.
Is SBA Accepting Applications?
As of March 17, 2020, the SBA is still 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. See the full schedule.
What Do I Need to Do to Be Ready to Apply?
If you are interested in applying for an SVO Grant, you can begin preparing to submit your application using the SVOG Checklist. All grantees must be registered at SAM.gov, so we recommend registering immediately.
Am I Qualified?
Eligible entities include:
- Live venue operators or promoters
- Theatrical producers
- Live performing arts organization operators
- Relevant museum operators, zoos and aquariums who meet specific criteria
- Motion picture theater operators
- Talent representatives, and
- Each business entity owned by an eligible entity that also meets the eligibility requirements
Other requirements of note:
- Must have been in operation as of February 29, 2020
- Venue or promoter must not have applied for or received a PPP loan on or after December 27, 2020
How Much Do I Qualify For?
- Grant amounts for eligible recipients 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 Can I Use the Funds I Receive?
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
What Records Must I Keep?
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.
How Did the American Rescue Plan Act Affect SVO and Other Relief Programs?
On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act into law, which provides additional relief for the nation’s small businesses and hard-hit industries for programs the SBA is currently administering and adds new efforts. Specifically, the new law includes:
- • $7.25 billion additional for the Paycheck Protection Program, including to expand eligibility to additional nonprofits and digital news services
- • Additional funds are allocated for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program, and now allows businesses to apply for both a PPP loan after Dec. 27, 2020, and the SVOG
- • $15 billion additional for Targeted Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance (EIDL) payments, including NEW $5 billion for Supplemental Targeted EIDL Advance payments for those hardest hit
- • NEW: $28.6 billion for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund for industry-focused grants
- • NEW: $100 million to establish a Community Navigator pilot program; grants will go to eligible organizations supporting efforts to improve access to COVID–19 pandemic assistance programs and resources.
How Can I Learn More?
Watch the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Webinar: