The U.S. Small Business Administration plans to notify 10,000 Shuttered Venue Operators Grant applicants, or 70 percent of the total, about awards by Independence Day, Broadway League President Charlotte St. Martin wrote to members.
The target is for all of the applicants for the delayed emergency subsidy program to be informed about grants by the end of July, St. Martin said in the email today, citing a conference call with Senator Chuck Schumer, a co-sponsor of the legislation that created the $16 billion program. Once a business is approved, the plan is for it to receive funds within three days, she said.
As of midday Monday, the SBA said it received 14,214 applications and awarded 411 grants, averaging $740,000 each. Recipients included 198 venues for live performance, 61 performing arts organizations and 16 theater producers.
Schumer “is quite passionate about getting us help and it’s very personal to him,” St. Martin wrote. “Several of our members have received word that they are approved so hopefully we will see a lot happen over the next few days.”
The program has been hampered by snafus, including applicants misidentified as dead or delinquent on debt owed to the federal government. To improve the application process, the SBA added 100 new reviewers, St. Martin wrote to members.
Eventually, there may be ample funds for theater-related businesses ravaged by the pandemic. Broadway Journal previously reported that the program had $6 billion remaining after its first week accepting applications in early May. Applicants had then submitted requests for $9.95 billion out of the $16.2 billion allocated, according to an internal SBA report that the League distributed to its members.
The grants, up to $10 million each, are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis and can be used for payroll, rent, utilities, mortgage and debt payments, advertising, insurance payments and for independent contractors who earn up to $100,000 annually. The SBA gives first priority to entities that suffered a 90 percent or greater revenue loss from April to December, 2020. The program became law in December 2020 and was amended in March 2021. The SBA earlier said that applicants considered first priority would receive funds at the end of May.