Three U.S. Congress Representatives, Roger Williams (R-TX), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) and Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) have sent a letter to the Small Business Administration (SBA), requesting transparency regarding the launch delay of the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program. The SVOG was passed into law on December 27, 2020, but several details regarding the program, such as a timetable and eligibility requirements, have not been revealed.
This letter is centered around four questions: what is causing the delay of the SVOG’s launch, when can businesses can apply for the SVOG, when is the expected time frame from the application’s receipt to the reception of funding and how can Congress assist the SBA to help launch the program as soon as possible.
“Each day that goes by without assistance puts the economic future of so many businesses in question,” the letter reads. “We urge the SBA to use all available resources to get this program operational in the timeliest manner so we will not see permanent closures of these business that are cultural staples in their communities.”
The SVOG was a provision of the Save Our Stages Act, which was launched in support of independent venues that were one of the hardest-hit businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. This measure saw immense support from politicians and musicians alike, with Senate Majority Leader (then Minority Leader) Chuck Schumer joining LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy in support of the legislation. YouTube held an entire virtual music festival in support of the legislation, which raised $1.8 million.
Photo Credit: Owen Ela