Advocacy groups representing shuttered venue operators and other performing arts groups—including the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP), the League of Historic American Theatres, Performing Arts Managers and Agents Coalition (PAMAC), and more—have issued a press release calling on the Small Business Administration (SBA) to resolve delays surrounding the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program.
“The $16.1 billion SVOG program, signed into law in December 2020, provides eligible movie theaters, live venue operators and promoters, talent representatives, and performing arts organizations with grants equal to 45% of their 2019 gross earned revenue, up to a maximum of $10 million,” the statement reads. “Nearly six months later, the SBA’s repeated errors and delays have endangered the very businesses and organizations the program was designed to help. The SBA has now missed its June 9 deadline to grant funds to those businesses suffering 90% or more losses and to begin making grants to the second tier of businesses suffering 70% or more losses.”
Venue operators have previously decried the SBA’s slow response to SVOG applicants. As of June 3, only 50 businesses had been awarded grant money, with an undetermined number of those businesses actually having access to the funds. As of June 9, according to the SBA, the number rose to 90, with 4,661 applications currently in the review process and 9,269 more still awaiting review.
“We couldn’t be more grateful that Congress saw fit to provide $16 billion to Save Our Stages, but this untenable wait for the emergency relief has been torturous and damaging to our industry, our employees, and our communities,” said NIVA Executive Director Rev. Moose. “With the changes made by the White House and our Congressional Champions, we are hopeful that the SBA will award the grant funds without any further delay.”
Pitchfork has reached out to representatives for the Small Business Administration for comment.