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New SBA Federal Grant for Shuttered Venues

Update: The SBA announced the SVOG application portal opens on April 8th. Visit the SBA SVOG Application Portal. The SBA has released the following documents and videos with additional information about the SVOG program:

What is the Shuttered Venue Operators (SVO) SBA Grant Program?

The Shuttered Venue Operations (SVO) Grant program was established by the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Non-Profits, and Venue Act which was signed into law on December 27, 2020, as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (CAA). This legislation authorizes $15 billion in grants to shuttered venue operators, that will be administered by the Small Business Administration.

What is the amount for the SVO grant?

The amount awarded to an eligible business will depend on when the business was in operation:

  • If your business was in operation on January 1, 2019, then you can get a grant equal to 45% of the gross earned revenue of the entity during 2019.
  • If your business was in operation after January 1, 2019, then the grant will be equal to 6x the average monthly gross earned revenue for each full month the business was operational in 2019.

How will the disbursement of grant funds be prioritized?

Grants will be disbursed to eligible applicants based on the following priority:

First-Priority Grants. During the initial 14-day period the SBA will only award grants to applicants that suffered a 90% or greater revenue loss in a period beginning on April 1, 2020, and ending on December 31, 2020, due to the pandemic.

Second-Priority Grants. During the 14 days immediately after the initial 14-day period, the SBA will only award applicants that suffered a 70% or greater revenue in the period from April 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020, due to the pandemic.

Third Priority Grants. After the first 28 days of disbursement, the SBA may award a grant to applicants who suffered a 25% or greater revenue loss between one quarter of 2019 and the corresponding quarter of 2020.

Supplemental grants. The SBA can make supplemental grants to prior SVO grant recipients of the First and Second Priority round who suffered a 70% loss or greater revenue loss for the most recent calendar quarter. Supplemental grants would equal 50 percent of the initial grant received.

What are the allowable expenses for the grant funds?

  • Payroll costs including salary, wages, commissions, or similar compensation (capped at an annualized amount of $100,000 per employee) including vacation, parental, family, medical, and sick leave; payments due to separation or dismissal; health, life disability, vision, or dental insurance; and retirement plan benefit payments.
  • Rent payments for a lease in effect before February 15, 2020.
  • Utility payments including electricity, gas, water, transportation, telephone, or internet for service agreements that began before February 15, 2020.
  • Interest or principal payments (not including prepayment of principal) on mortgages/debts Incurred before February 15, 2020.
  • Debt payments (not including prepayment of principal) on any indebtedness incurred in the ordinary course of business prior to February 15, 2020.
  • Worker protection expenditures
  • Payments to independent contractors not to exceeding $100K in annual compensation per contractor.
  • Other ordinary and necessary business expenses, including maintenance costs administrative costs, state and local taxes and fees, operating leases in effect as of February 15, 2020, insurance payments, and advertising, production transportation, and capital expenditures related to producing a theatrical or live performing arts production, concert, exhibition, or comedy show.

Who is eligible for the SVO Grant?

The Shuttered Venue Operators grant will be available to 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.

To qualify for an SVO grant the business:

  • Must have been fully operational as of February 29, 2020.
  • Must have a reduction of at least 25 % in gross earned revenue during one quarter in 2020 when compared to the same quarter 2019.
  • Must Reopen or intend to reopen as of the date of receiving the grant.
  • Cannot be owned or controlled by a publicly-traded company.
  • Cannot be a PPP loan recipient after December 27, 2020.
  • Satisfy venue requirements (outline below)

Live venue operators or promoters, theatrical producers, and live performing arts organization operators that either:

  1. Must have a principal business activity of organizing, promoting, producing, managing, or hosting live concerts, comedy shows, or theatrical productions or other events by performing artists for which (a) there is a cover charge to attend most performance, and (b) generates at least 70% of earned revenue through cover charges, ticket sales, production fees, production reimbursements, nonprofit educational initiatives, or the sale of even beverages, food, or merchandise; or
  2. Must have a principal business activity of making tickets available for purchase by the public at least 60 days in advance of live concerts, comedy shows, theatrical productions, or other qualifying events for which performers are paid in an amount that is based on a percentage of sales, a guarantee or another mutually beneficial formal agreement. Nonprofit museum operators.

Relevant museums must meet the following requirements:

  • serving as a museum is its principal business activity.
  • must have indoor exhibition spaces that are a component of the principal business activity and which have been subjected to pandemic-related occupancy restrictions; and
  • have at least one auditorium, theatre, or performance lecture hall with fixed audience seating and regular programming.

Motion picture theatre operators must have the following characteristics:

  • at least one auditorium that includes a motion-picture screen and fixed audience seating.
  • a projection booth or other space with at least one motion picture projector.
  • paid ticketing to attend an exhibition of motion pictures; and
  • motion picture exhibitions marketed through show time listings in print, online, mass media, or on social media.

Talent representatives

  • Must be an agent or manager that devote at least 70% of their operations to managing artists and entertainers.
  • Must book or represent musicians, comedians, actors, or similar performing artists primarily at live events in venues or at festivals.
  • Must represent performers that are paid based on the number of tickets sold or a similar basis.

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