When it was announced in December that cultural venues in the United States of America would receive financial support to combat the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic, the response was as you would expect: positive and hopeful. With a tough 2020 endured by venues across the world, this news was unfortunately at a time too late for some, as many suffered too much and saw their doors close. However, as 2021 starts under a similar, yet more confident position as 2020 ended, the need for financial aid continues for those who remain afloat. Despite this, the $15 billion congress-approved support may not get around every US venue, with some expressing their concerns that beloved venues will miss out on funding.
This money isn’t as simple as it may seem, but you probably guessed that. Numerous criteria have been set out regarding how the aid – known as the Shuttered Venues Operators Grant – can be divided up, with a few key pointers listed below:
- Eligible applicants will be able to apply for up to 45% of their gross earned revenue, with a cap at $10 million
- $2 billion will be reserved for venues with more than 50 full-time employees
- It is estimated that over 27,000 businesses could qualify for a share of the financial aid, more than the initial number predicted as the grant was lobbied for
- In the first two weeks, applications will only be open to businesses with losses of 90%+ between April and December of 2020
- In the following two weeks, businesses with losses of 70%+ in the same time frame will be able to apply
- Once this phase is complete, businesses of losses over 25% will be able to apply
The concern stems from the final few points, with some business owners worrying that, by the time the final phase comes around, the available grant money will have already been delegated and businesses will miss out. However, a spokesperson for the Small Business Administration has stated that they are “setting up front-end protections to ensure these vital grants are delivered to those law intended to assist“. Time will tell whether this welcomed support can spread far enough to salvage businesses across the US in dire need of a saviour.
Image Credit: Zachary Smith (@LokosLens)