Last month, the Small Business Administration was scheduled to begin processing applications for financial relief from owners and operators of shuttered entertainment and concert venues as part of the relief package passed as part of the Save Our Stages Act. Applications were set to open April 8, but were delayed after the SBA web portal crashed, leaving venue owners in the lurch. Now, it’s been announced that the Shuttered Venue Operator Grant applications will go live Saturday, April 24, with a new web portal at which venue owners can apply.
“We have completed rigorous testing and the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant application portal will reopen on April 24,” the SBA wrote in a tweet sent Tuesday (April 22) evening. “We will provide updated documents and guidance tomorrow. Interested applicants should register for an account in advance.” Venue operators who are eligible for the SVOG grant can apply here.
The SVOG program was passed late last year, after months of campaigning led by the National Independent Venue Association. In February, lawmakers wrote to the SBA to question why the applications had yet to open.
NIVA issued a new statement today after news of the new SBA portal was revealed. “Simply put, this is emergency relief that can’t come too soon,” said NIVA board member and communications director Audrey Fix Schaefer. “Every single day that passes small businesses are receiving eviction notices, all the while $16 billion has been waiting for them. This is a lifeline for thousands of independent venues and promoters in big towns and in small communities across the nation. When you’ve had revenue losses of more than 90 percent and are in fear of going under, having the opportunity to apply for the grant is a relief, no matter what day of the week it is. We’re thankful our members won’t have to wait much longer.”