WASHINGTON (WSYR/WWTI) — Live event venues are getting an economic boost after being hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Applications open Thursday for the Save Our Stages Act. It’s part of the latest $900 billion stimulus relief bill to help venues like independent movie theaters, performing arts organizations, and museums.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) is calling it the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, and the application portal will officially open on April 8 at 12 p.m. According to the SBA, this grant is specifically to provide economic relief to live entertainment businesses and organizations.

“Concerts, plays, dance performances, movie premieres, museum exhibits—these are the lifeblood of culture and community, and often the anchor for travel, tourism and neighborhood food and retail stores,” stated SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. “We know that for the stage and venue operators across the nation that help make this culture happen, the pandemic has been devastating. Too many have been forced to lower the final curtain on their businesses.”

Eligible business types as cited on the SBA website include the following:

  • Live venue operator
  • Promoter
  • Theatrical producer
  • Live performing arts organization operator
  • Motion picture theatre operator
  • Museum operator
  • Talent representatives

The SBA added that through the American Rescue Plan and the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act, $16.2 billion has been made available for venues, theaters, museums, live venue promoters, theatrical producers, and talent representatives. Of the $16.2 billion for grants, $2 billion is reserved for eligible Shuttered Venue Operators Grant applications with up to 50 full-time employees.

The Administration stated that it will accept Shuttered Venue Operators applications on a first-in, first-out basis and allocate applications to respective priority periods as they are received.

Specifically, the first 14-days of funding awards, will be for those entities that suffered a 90% or grater revenue loss between April and December 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The second 14 days will include entities that suffered a 70% or greater loss between that same timeframe.

Following those two periods, the Shuttered Venue Operators Grants awards will include entities that suffered a 25% or greater loss between one quarter of 2019 and the corresponding quarter of 2020.

The Small Business Administration confirmed that the first award period is expected to begin in late April of 2021.

To be eligible for funds, groups must have experienced at least 25% lost revenue due to COVID-19. Applicants can request up to 45% of their gross earned revenue, with a maximum amount of $10 million. The grants are designed to offer six months of financial support that can be used to keep employees paid and keep New York’s prized cultural hubs open for business. Full eligibility requirements for the Shuttered Venue Operator Grants can be found on the SBA website.