The Small Business Administration (SBA) has announced that the long awaited Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) Application Portal will open and begin accepting applications for eligible applicants starting April 8, 2021. Applicants can find the SVOG Application Portal here, the SVOG Application Checklist here, and the draft SVOG Application here, which is subject to change.
To further assist applicants in the application process, the SBA has updated several documents first listed in Taft's SBA Part Forty, provided additional guidance about the SVOG, and released a new document. These documents may be updated from time to time. New and updated documents include:
- FAQ on SVOG, updated March 22, 2021.
- A list of Eligibility Requirements, updated March 16, 2021.
- A Preliminary Checklist for Applications, updated March 11, 2021.
- Cross-Program Eligibility Chart on SBA COVID-19 relief options.
Some important updates to the SVOG program in the above documents include the following:
Priority Application Dates (so long as April 8, 2021, remains the first date applications are made available)
- Applications are scheduled to open on April 8, 2021, only for those applicants who have suffered a 90% or greater revenue loss between April 2020 and December 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic (the first 14 days are exclusive for these applicants).
- Applications will open on April 22, 2021, only for those applicants who have suffered a 70% or greater revenue loss between April 2020 and December 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic (the next 14 days are exclusive for these applicants).
- Applications will open on May 6, 2021, only for those applicants who have suffered a 25% or greater earned revenue loss between one quarter of 2019, as compared to the corresponding quarter in 2020 (applications open up to all eligible applicants at this time).
Once the priority applications have been processed, if funds remain, recipients from one of the priority periods above may apply for supplemental funding if they have suffered a 70% or greater revenue loss for the most recent calendar quarter.
- Additional funding has been allocated for the SVOG. Additionally, if at any time SVOG program funding lapses (the program runs out of available funds), the SBA will create a waitlist with zero-dollar grant placeholders for applicants. In the event Congress later renews the appropriations for this fund, the SBA will apply funds first to those on the waitlist and then to new applicants.
Recent SVOG FAQs have provided some additional information regarding eligibility:
- Entities currently in a reorganization form of bankruptcy may be eligible to apply for the SVOG. If your venue falls under this category, please contact any member of Taft's SBA Task Force for additional assistance.
- Entities that have multiple lines of business that are essentially equal in regard to their share of the entity's overall business activity are now all deemed to be part of the principal business activities.
- Cruise ships may serve as qualifying business activity venues and be eligible to apply for SVOGs. If your venue falls under this category, please contact any member of Taft's SBA Task Force for additional assistance.
- Nonprofit entities that put on free music festivals (i.e. do not charge for admission), but earn money through concessions and apparel sales are not eligible to apply for an SVOG.
Steps Applicants Need To Take Now – Before Applying
- Sign up for updates: If you are interested in applying for the SVOG, go to the new SVOG Application Portal and sign up to be informed about updates to the SVOG application and notified when the application opens.
- Determine if your venue is eligible and when you can apply: Determine if your venue (a) falls into one of the categories covered by SVOG by reviewing the updated list of Eligibility Requirements and FAQs to make sure all requirements are met, (b) was operational as of Feb. 29, 2020, and (c) had a decline in revenue of at least 25% in any quarter of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. Once you have determined what percent decline in revenue the venue has experienced, refer to the application dates above to find out when your venue is eligible to apply.
- Apply for a DUNS Number: If you don't already have one, venues MUST apply for a Dun & Bradstreet proprietary unique entity identifier (DUNS number), as soon as possible. DUNS numbers are a requirement to register an entity with the System for Award Management (SAM) and the process may take longer than normal due to the increase in applicants. Entities can apply for a DUNS number here. For assistance in applying for a DUNS Number, please contact any member of Taft's SBA Task Force.
- Register venue at
SAM.gov: If you haven't already done so, register your
eligible venue with SAM. Recipients of federal grants are required
to register with SAM, which can be accessed at SAM.gov. This
process may take longer than normal due to increased use.
Additionally, the website states the website will be down for
scheduled maintenance on April 10, 2021, from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00
It is highly recommended applicants apply for their DUNS number and register with SAM BEFORE the application portal opens on April 8, 2021. For assistance in registering with SAM, please contact any member of Taft's SBA Task Force.
- Collect the necessary
documents to apply: Review the Preliminary Checklist and begin
collecting and preparing the necessary documents to submit your
application. These documents include:
- Background Documents: In addition to general information on the applicant entity, the applicant will be required to submit a written Statement of Need. This statement must include (a) a good faith certification that the uncertainty of current economic conditions makes the grant necessary to support the ongoing operations of the applicant, (b) if the applicant is currently in operation, a statement that the applicant will remain in operation after receipt of funds or if the applicant is currently shuttered, a statement that the applicant intends to reopen on an estimated reopening date, and (c) a certification that the entity was fully operational on Feb. 29, 2020. For assistance in preparing your Statement of Need, please contact any member of Taft's SBA Task Force.
- Financing Documents: These include 2019 and 2020 tax returns and income statements, and a copy of your most recent audited financing statement or a single audit.
- Standard Forms: These are standard forms that are linked on the Preliminary Checklist that will need to be completed as part of your application.
- Applicant-Specific Documents: These documents are different for each venue depending on if the venue is in the following categories: (a) Live Venue Operator or Promoter, Theatrical Producer, or Live Performing Arts Organization Operator, (b) Motion Picture Theatre Operator, (c) Museum, and (d) Talent Representative. These documents may include floor plans, proof of equipment, marketing materials, box office/ticketing reports, state or local COVID-19 occupancy restrictions, and contract/consulting agreements. Some of these documents may take additional time to collect or prepare so it is advised that applicants identify what applicant-specific documents they need and start collecting and preparing them now.
SVOG Effect on Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan and Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF)
PPP Loan and SVOG Recipients: Participants are now eligible to receive funds from both programs.
- If an eligible SVOG applicant received a First Draw and/or Second Draw PPP loan before Dec. 27, 2020, the amount of their SVOG funds will not be affected.
- If an eligible SVOG applicant received a First Draw and/or Second Draw PPP loan on or after Dec. 27, 2020, the amount of their SVOG funds will be reduced by the amount of their PPP loan(s) (regardless of whether the loan was or will be forgiven).
- If an entity receives SVOG funds, they are no longer eligible to apply for a PPP loan. If you are considering applying for both and have not yet applied for a PPP loan, please contact any member of Taft's SBA Task Force.
RRF Recipient and SVOG Recipient: Once an eligible venue receives SVOG funds, it is no longer eligible to receive a Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) grant. Eligible entities and individuals must determine which grant better serves their needs prior to applying as they cannot receive funds from both grant programs.
Applicants can refer to the Cross-Program Eligibility Chart on SBA COVID-19 relief options for more information on how SBA programs are impacted by each other and updates to the above.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.