The National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) is thankful that President Biden signed into law today the American Rescue Plan. NIVA members are grateful that it includes Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s Amendment to the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) provisions and supports its passage in the upcoming COVID Relief Bill.
The previous law forbade eligible entities to apply for both Payroll Protection Plan (PPP2) after Dec. 27, 2020 and the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG, f.k.a. Save Our Stages Act). The revised provision enables eligible entities to apply for PPP2 starting now until March 31, 2021, and also seek SVOG when the applications are made available by the Small Business Administration. The SBA has yet to set a date to accept SVOG applications.
NIVA members, devastated by having no income and enormous overhead for a year, have been anxiously awaiting the SVOG application forms; many venues have gone under while waiting to access this program. “Now that independent venues and promoters can be eligible for both PPP2 and SVOG, we’re hoping Congress will extend the deadline for applying for PPP2, since it’s set to close March 31, or in just 14 business days,” say Adam Hartke, NIVA’s Advocay Cochair and owner of The Cotilian and WAVE in Wichita, Ks.
The PPP2 money can help eligible independent venues and promoters to hold on until SVOG funding starts being distributed. Any amount of PPP2 money taken by a recipient will be reduced from SVOG funds, i.e., if a venue is eligible for $100,000 SVOG and they have taken $25,000 in PPP2 funds, their SVOG cannot exceed $75,000.
“This change can save countless venues from bankruptcy, as the immediate PPP2 money will help them hold on until the SVOG funds flow,” said Dayna Frank, NIVA Board President and CEO of First Avenue Productions in Minneapolis. “This entire industry is grateful to President Biden for the relief the Majority Leader Senator Schumer for spearheading this provision and Senators Cornyn and Klobuchar for championing our cause with the Save Our Stages Act.”
Other important additions to the provision are an additional $1.25 billion added to the SVOG fund and $840,000 earmarked for the SBA staff to facilitate COVID-related programs. “The quicker the SBA can staff up and roll out this program, the better. To say our members are frantic and anxious is an understatement. The eviction notices have been coming at an even faster pace as time goes by without this emergency relief,” said Frank.