Business

Shuttered Venue Operators Grants: SBA Details Rollout Plans & What Happens if the Money Runs Out

The Satellite
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Live music venue The Satellite which remains closed due to restrictive Coronavirus measures on April 8, 2020 in Los Angeles.

The application period for venues and other entities begins on April 8.

In a webinar on March 30, the Small Business Administration (SBA) laid out additional details for entities applying for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG), including information on the tiered rollout of funds.

The SVOG is structured to help those most in need first. Entities — which include independent venues, promoters, talent agencies, movie theaters, zoos, museums and other cultural centers — that can prove they lost 90% or more of their revenue from April to December 2020 when compared to 2019 will be prioritized. SVOG applications open on April 8, and first priority venues will receive their funds in the first 14 days of grants awards being allocated, though it's still unclear exactly when those 14 days are slated to begin. The SBA estimates 15,000 applicants will be awarded grants.

Applicants should prepare all their documents in advance of the April 8 opening date, as the SBA said it will service applications on a first-come, first-served basis. All entities, regardless of where they fall in priority, can begin submitting applications through the SBA’s portal on that date; the administration will then prioritize each entity. If a venue that has lost 90% or more of its revenue in 2020 does not get awarded in the first 14 days, it will be prioritized for the second round of fund distribution, which will also last for 14 days.

Once second (70% or more of revenue lost in 2020) and third (25% or more of revenue lost in 2020) priority venues are awarded, entities can apply for supplemental funds from the SVOG. Supplemental funds will be determined by whatever amount of the $16 billion fund is left after the initial phases of awards are complete. If the $16 billion is exhausted in the first three categories, entities can still apply for supplemental funds to compensate for 2021 losses.

"The SBA intends to issue $0 placeholder supplemental awards that could subsequently be modified to add funds in the event Congress appropriates additional monies for the program," a lawyer working on the SVOG said during the webinar. He added that supplemental grants will be a separate application from the initial phases. Applications for the SVOG will be accepted until the fund runs out.

The SBA went on to establish that applicants must be prepared to state whether or not they've reopened for business, or when they plan to reopen, in order to receive funds. Businesses also need to provide details on how they plan to use the funds they’re asking for. Venues should seek to be as precise as possible, since the SBA designates what the funds can be used for and will only overlook about 10% of funds being shuffled to other eligible categories.

Grantees are required to retain employment records for four years following their receipt of a grant and retain all other records for three years. In the case of fraud, the SBA may seek the repayment of funds, initiate legal action to collect funds, add individuals or an organization to the “Do Not Pay List” or refer the grantee to the inspector general.

For additional guidelines and information, head here.

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