Las Vegas Live Entertainment Spaces Can Soon Apply for National COVID-19 Relief Grants

Posted on: March 21, 2021, 08:00h. 

Last updated on: March 21, 2021, 12:53h.

Las Vegas live performance venues and similar audience spaces nationwide can apply starting next month for over $16 billion in federal relief funds. Eligible spaces include those which were forced to shutter because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Eligible applicants can receive grants equal to 45 percent of their gross earned revenue
Small Business Administration Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman shown here. Guzman is leading a new program to provide relief for live entertainment spaces that were forced to shutter by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Image: Los Angeles Times)

Billions of dollars in grants will be distributed to operators of live venues, performing arts organizations, museums, movie theaters, as well as qualified promoters and talent reps, according to the Journal of Accountancy (JOA).

Maximum Grant Is $10M

Eligible applicants can receive grants equal to 45 percent of their gross earned revenue, the US Small Business Administration (SBA) said. The maximum grant is $10 million.

Also, $2 billion is reserved for approved applications which have up to 50 full-time employees.

As a first step, the SBA on Friday launched a web page focused on the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) application process. Applications can be submitted for the grant program starting on April 8.

Applicants will need to file a statement of need, as well as provide numerous forms and documents. Many are tax-related forms.

Specific eligibility requirements recently were posted online. Among the organizations which do not qualify for grants are those which put on live performances “of a prurient sexual nature,” SBA guidelines said.

Informational Webinar To Be Held in March

On March 30, between 2:30 and 4 pm ET, the SBA will present a free webinar on how to fill out an application. To register for the online webinar, click here.

“Help is here for venue operators hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic,” SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said in a statement. She said these spaces are critical to the US economy. They were among the first operations to shutter because of the pandemic.

“This vital economic aid will provide a much-needed lifeline for live venues, museums, movie theaters, and many more,” Guzman said.

Nevada is one state where live performance spaces and performers were heavily impacted by coronavirus.

Earlier this month, less restrictive COVID-19 safety rules were implemented in Nevada to limit audience size to either 50 percent of legal capacity or 250 people in attendance. It is based on which either number is lower.

Nevada’s state government has published guidance for large gatherings and those events whose organizers want to have more than 250 people in the audience.

Prior audience restrictions forced the cancellation of most live Las Vegas shows. At one point, the audience basically could not exceed 50 people.

The National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), a national organization that represents live venues and similar spaces, welcomed the new federal relief program.

“We realize this is an enormous undertaking for the SBA, and we appreciate everything the agency is doing to ensure this program is administered as Congress intended as expeditiously as possible,” NIVA said in a recent statement.

“The opening can’t come soon enough. The fate of our industry’s survival is dependent on it. To say we have been anxiously awaiting the day when [we] can apply for this emergency relief is an understatement.”

Venues that applied for a paycheck protection program (PPP) loan after Dec. 27, 2020, can apply as well for SVOG funds. The SVOG amount will be reduced by any loan amount approved from the PPP.

Among the preliminary steps in the application process, applicants must register with the System for Award Management (SAM). Applicants also need a Dun & Bradstreet (DUNS) number to complete SAM registration.