Closing date set for new Shuttered Venue Operator Grant applications

By Jeff Drew

Live entertainment venues, promoters, movie theater operators, and other eligible entities that have yet to seek a Shuttered Venue Operator Grant (SVOG) have until the end of next week to apply for funding from the $16.25 billion program.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced Wednesday that it would accept new SVOG applications until 11:59 p.m. PT on Aug. 20.

The SVOG program provides grants to eligible organizations that have suffered revenue loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Successful applicants can receive grants equal to 45% of their gross earned revenue, up to a maximum of $10 million.

Business types eligible for SVOGs include live venue operators, promoters, arts organizations, talent representatives, motion picture theater operators, museums, and theatrical producers.

The SVOG program has awarded $8.4 billion in grants to more than 10,800 businesses since it opened in April. The SBA is actively reviewing 286 applications with another 47 yet to begin the review process, according to the weekly SVOG public report.

All told, the SBA has received nearly 15,900 applications for the SVOG program. Those applications represent $12.3 billion in requested funding, nearly $4 billion less than the total amount allotted to the program.

Second chances for funding

With billions in funding still available, the SBA reaffirmed the announcement it made last month that it would consider requests for supplemental SVOGs for 50% of the original award amount, capped at a total of $10 million (initial and supplemental combined). The agency said it would open that program later this month, with more details coming at a later date.

The SBA also confirmed that it is currently accepting, by invitation, appeals of grant denials and requests for the reconsideration of award amounts. The agency said last month that the period to appeal rejected applications would run through Aug. 16 while the period for seeking award amount reconsiderations would end Aug. 18.

The SBA said Wednesday it would consider reopening the SVOG portal or making other adjustments to the program if the need arises.

Initial details about the award reconsideration and appeal programs in updates were published July 22 in the SVOG Frequently Asked Questions file.

The SVOG so far

The SVOG was created by the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act, P.L. 116-260, which was signed into law in late December. That bill appropriated $15 billion to the SVOG, which received another $1.25 billion after the American Rescue Plan Act, P.L. 117-2, became law March 11.

Working with vendors to develop a new platform to facilitate the SVOG application and grant process, the SBA didn’t open the application portal until April 8. The agency then had to shut the portal down for repairs after only a few hours due to venue owners and other eligible businesses being unable to upload supporting documents for their applications.

After nearly three weeks of repairs and testing, the SVOG application portal reopened on April 26 and the first applications were successfully submitted to the program.

Grants were slow to be made, due in part to the way the program was structured. While grants are awarded on a first come, first serve basis, Congress structured the SVOG to prioritize the hardest hit venues.

The first 14 days of SVOG awards were reserved for entities that suffered a 90% or greater revenue loss between April and December 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 3,500 grants were made to applicants in this group through Aug. 9.

The second 14 days of awards (days 15–28) expanded eligibility to entities that suffered a 70% or greater revenue loss between April and December 2020. The SBA made 2,333 grants to applicants in that group.

Following those periods, SVOG award eligibility was expanded to entities that suffered a 25% or greater revenue loss between one quarter of 2019 and the corresponding quarter of 2020. More than 4,900 awards went to this group.

In a news release July 27, the SBA said the pace of SVOG grant-making increased after the agency made adjustments to its process based on successful aspects of the Paycheck Protection Program and Restaurant Revitalization Fund. The SBA did not detail what changes were made to the SVOG process.

AICPA experts discuss the latest on the SVOG 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.

AICPA members can learn more about the SVOG on the webpage “Understanding the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program.”

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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