SBA Flooded With More Than 17,000 Venue Relief Applications

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Photo Credit: bantersnaps

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has received north of 17,000 applications for financial relief from in-need venue owners since reopening its Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) portal on Monday.

The web platform briefly crashed earlier this month and received some 17,356 applications in the first 24 hours that it went live once again, an SBA representative told Variety. At the time, about 9,500 of these applications had been “started” and about 8,000 had been “submitted,” according to the same source, and the website remains live now.

Funded by the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act and amended by the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act, the SBA’s $16 billion venue-support program is open to venue owners and promoters as well as theatrical producers, museum operators, movie-theater owners, and even talent representatives, per the SVOG portal.

Worth noting, however, is that venues must have been “in operation” as of Saturday, February 29th, 2020, to be eligible for aid under the program. Additionally, establishment owners who received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds after Sunday, December 27th, 2020, and who also apply to receive SVOG capital will have the former amount subtracted from the latter payment.

Lastly, in terms of the program’s nuances, eligible entities that opened prior to January 1st of 2019 will benefit from “an amount equal to 45% of their 2019 gross earned revenue OR $10 million, whichever is less.” On the other hand, business professionals whose venues opened after the start of 2019 will receive “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.”

Relief payments can be used to cover payroll, rent, state and local taxes, “ordinary and necessary business expenses,” and more – but not to purchase real estate, pay down loans that were taken out after February 15th, 2020, or make new investments or loans, according to the SBA website.

The National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) addressed the return of the SVOG portal in a series of tweets, stating in part: “These grants will allow eligible entities to pay off mountains of debt incurred over the last 13 months of being closed with nearly all revenue lost, as well as fund reopening efforts—including saving jobs and hiring staff—when it’s safe to do so.”

Though Burning Man was canceled this week due to organizers’ continued COVID-19 concerns, while EDC Las Vegas was delayed until October, evidence suggests that crowd-based entertainment will return sooner rather than later – to the benefit of venue owners, artists, and fans alike.

The Hollywood Bowl intends to kick off “14 weeks of concerts featuring a mixture of programming” in July,” while comedian Bill Burr, country star Jason Aldean, and others are preparing to embark on 2021 tours.