SBA Opening Shuttered Venue Operators Grants on April 8

Date March 25, 2021
Authors Amy M. Reynallt

The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Disaster Assistance will begin accepting applications for Shuttered Venue Operator Grants on April 8. This grant program was introduced in the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits and Venues Act signed into law on December 27, 2020 and recently modified by The American Rescue Plan Act, the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill passed on March 11. The program focuses on supporting performing arts businesses that have been closed or limited by COVID-19 restrictions.


The list of entities eligible for the grants includes live venue operators or promoters, theatrical producers, live performing arts organization operators, museum operators, motion picture theatre operators, and talent representatives. It also includes certain entities owned by state or local governments—for example, museums or historic homes—that are operated solely as a venue. Eligibility is limited to venues operating as of February 29, 2020.

Originally, venues that received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans were prohibited from receiving the grants, but the American Rescue Plan Act removed that restriction. However, entities will be ineligible for a PPP loan once they receive an SVOG.

Grants will generally be available equal to 45 percent of 2019 gross earned income, or $10 million, whichever is less. Grant awards may be reduced by PPP loan amounts.

How to apply

As the SBA works on its application platform, applicants are advised to proceed as follows:

  • Reference the SVOG Eligibility Requirements and register for a DUNS number.
  • Register in the System for Award Management ( Each eligible entity must have its own SAM registration.
  • Gather documents to support your employee count and monthly revenues.
  • Determine the amount of gross revenue loss you suffered between 2019 and 2020. You can use this information to see if you qualify for one of the priority periods.
  • Reference the SVOG Preliminary Application Checklist for additional preparation recommendations.

The application schedule

The SBA expects to open applications on April 8, 2021. Entities who have suffered great revenue loss will be prioritized.

How to use the funds

Funds may be used for certain expenses, including:

  • 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 the primary use of funds)

Funds may not be used to:

  • Buy real estate
  • Make payments on loans originated after February 15, 2020
  • Make investments or loans
  • Make contributions or other payments to, or on behalf of, political parties, political committees, or candidates for election
  • Any other use prohibited by the Administrator

To learn more about the SVOG program, visit or visit the FAQs at For more information about the SVOG program or other COVID-19 relief options, contact your HBK Advisor.

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