Since the passing of the Shattered Venue Operators Grant program, a report from the U.S. Small Business Association revealed recently that out of the 13,783 applicants, only 50 operators have received aid from the SVOG. In total, that is an estimated 0.3% of all applicants who have applied for pandemic relief through the program.
The SVOG was created after the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small businesses, Non-Profits, and Venues Act was signed into law back in December 2020. The purpose of the program was to provide $15 billion worth of relief for any entertainment venue shut down due to the pandemic. One report states that $2 billion was reserved for smaller entities with no more than 50 employees, including occupants such as live venue operators, Live performing arts organization operators, talent representatives and theater producers.
Other efforts have been made to provide relief to struggling live venues and operators affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. When President Biden passed the American rescue Plan in early March, he included the ability for music venues to apply for Payroll Protection Plan loans and SVOG grants.
As the recent reports of distributed SVOG grants have proven so far to be a massive failure, other programs like Save Our Stages have also been poor in providing funds to struggling venues. The Save Our Stages Act was passed into law as part of the COVID relief bill back in January 2021, and was supposed to provide $15 million in aid for local venues. However, just 5 months after its enactment, it was revealed that indie venues across the country received $0 in federal aid.
Numerous delays from the SBA in launching the SVOG have also made it harder for venue operators to apply for reimbursement. According to Pitchfork, eight weeks after the SVOG was signed into law, there were still no distributions made. In response to the delay, members of congress sent a letter to the SBA, urging that the money be distributed to applicants immediately.
“Each day that goes by without assistance puts the economic future of so many businesses in question,” the congress members wrote. “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 businesses that are cultural staples in their communities.”
So far, a total of 3,471 submitted SVOG applications are currently under review, while 10,262 are awaiting review.