SBA aims to reopen Shuttered Venue Operators Grant portal this week

By Jeff Drew

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) intends to reopen the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant application portal by the end of this week.

The SBA said in a news release that its technology team and vendors are focused on testing the portal, which was forced to shut down due to technical issues only hours after it opened on April 8. The SBA said last week that its vendors have fixed the root cause of the initial problems but that more in-depth risk analysis and stress tests identified other issues that affect application performance.

“The vendors are quickly addressing and mitigating them and working tirelessly with our team so the application portal can reopen ASAP and we can deliver this critical aid,” the release said.

Once it has set an exact date and time to reopen the portal, the SBA will provide advance notice so that applicants can be prepared and have equitable access to the program, which will award grants on a first-come, first-serve basis within different areas of priority. The agency said that it would provide updates on its Twitter feed.

The application portal for the SVOG program ran into technical difficulties almost immediately on April 8, with venue owners and other eligible businesses saying on social media that they could not upload supporting documents for their applications. The SBA then shut down the portal for repairs.

The SVOG program was created when the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act, P.L. 116-260, was signed into law in late December. The Economic Aid Act appropriated $15 billion to the program.

The American Rescue Plan Act, P.L. 117-2, which became law March 11, appropriated an additional $1.25 billion to the SVOG, bringing the program’s funding to a total of $16.25 billion. More than $16 billion of the funding is set aside for grants, with at least $2 billion reserved for eligible SVOG applicants with no more than 50 employees.  

Entities eligible to apply for an SVOG include operators of live venues, live performing arts organizations, museums, and movie theaters, as well as live venue promoters, theatrical producers, and talent representatives.

The American Rescue Plan Act amended the SVOG program so entities that apply for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan after Dec. 27, 2020, can also apply for an SVOG, with the eligible entity’s SVOG to be reduced by the PPP loan amount. An interim final rule codified those changes with additional details.

For more information on the SVOG, the following resources are available from the SBA:

AICPA experts discuss the latest on the PPP and other small business aid programs during a virtual town hall held every other week. The webcasts, which provide CPE credit, are free to AICPA members and $39.99 for nonmembers. Go to the AICPA Town Hall Series webpage for more information and to register. Recordings of Town Hall events are available to view for free on AICPA TV.

The AICPA’s Paycheck Protection Program Resources page houses resources and tools produced by the AICPA to help address the economic impact of the coronavirus.

Accounting firms can prepare and process applications for the PPP on the CPA Business Funding Portal, created by the AICPA, CPA.com, and fintech partner Biz2Credit.

For more news and reporting on the coronavirus and how CPAs can handle challenges related to the outbreak, visit the JofA’s coronavirus resources page or subscribe to our email alerts for breaking PPP news.

Jeff Drew (Jeff.Drew@aicpa-cima.com) is a JofA senior editor.

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