Relief Program for Shuttered Venue Operators to Open April 8

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recently released additional details about their Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) application portal in advance of opening applications for the much-anticipated economic relief program on April 8, 2021. The SVOG program will provide a much-needed lifeline for live venues, museums, movie theatres and many more that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The SVOG program was established by the Economic Aid to Hard Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits and Venues Act, which appropriated $15 billion for it. The American Rescue Plan Act, signed into law on March 11, 2021, appropriated an additional $1.25 billion, bringing the program funding to a total of $16.25 billion, with more than $16 billion allocated for grants.

Grant Amounts and Funding Rules

Grant amounts will reflect either of the following instances:

  • 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.

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 February 15, 2020)
  • Worker protection expenditures
  • Payments to independent contractors (not to exceed $100,000 in annual compensation per contractor)
  • Other ordinary and necessary business expenses, including maintenance costs
  • Administrative costs (including fees and licensing)
  • State and local taxes and fees
  • Operating leases in effect as of February 15, 2020
  • 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)

Program Eligibility

Eligible entities include:

  • Live venue operators or promoters
  • Theatrical producers
  • Live performing arts organization operators
  • Relevant museum operators, zoos and aquariums that meet specific criteria
  • Motion picture theater operators
  • Talent representatives
  • Each business entity owned by an eligible entity that also meets the eligibility requirements

In order to apply, the entity must have been in operation as of February 29, 2020. Additionally, the American Rescue Plan amended the SVOG program to allow entities that apply for a PPP loan after December 27, 2020 to also apply for an SVOG. The eligible entity’s SVOG will be reduced by the PPP loan amount. Visit the SBA website for additional details on cross-program eligibility.


Additional Information

To prepare in advance of the SVOG application portal opening on April 8, 2021, potential applicants should get registered in the federal government’s System for Award Management (, as this is required for an entity to receive an SVOG, and reference the preliminary application checklist and eligibility requirements.

As the SBA builds and prepares to open the program, potential applicants can get more information on the dedicated SVOG website, which includes frequently asked questions, video tutorials and other details. Prior to the official SVOG application opening, the SBA hosted a national informational webinar to highlight the application process for potential eligible entities – a recording of that webinar can be viewed here. 

If you need assistance with the SVOG prgram, other relief programs or general accounting issues, please contact GYF at 412-338-9300.

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Erika Tallerico

Erika Tallerico

Erika has nearly 15 years of experience in public accounting, providing assurance services to clients in a wide range of industries including manufacturing, real estate, technology and not-for-profit. Her expertise also includes benefit plan audits and M&A consulting work.

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