A full calendar year after music venues across the country were forced to close their doors and shut off their lights indefinitely, and four long months after Congress passed the Save Our Stages Act as part of a $900 billion COVID-19 relief package, independent music venue owners were finally able to breathe a temporary sigh of relief last week with the ability to apply for Shuttered Venue Operators Grants starting this past Thursday (4/8). That is, until the Small Business Administration‘s online application portal failed almost immediately, leaving venue owners in further financial limbo until later this week at the earliest.
Shortly after opening at 12 p.m. ET on Thursday, the S.B.A. took to Twitter to announce, “We are experiencing a technical issue with the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant application portal and are working as fast as possible to address it.”
A few hours later, after the portal remained shut down, the S.B.A. followed up with a lengthier statement via Twitter, adding,
After launching the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant application portal, technical issues arose despite multiple successful tests. After working with our vendors to address the issues, the portal was shut down to ensure fair and equal access once it is reopened. This decision was not made lightly as we understand the need to get relief quickly to this hard-hit industry.
We’ll provide updates via social media, email updates for those who have registered, and on https://sba.gov/svogrant. Entities can still register in the portal and SBA will share advance notice of the time/date for reopening the SVOG application portal with registrants.
Sign up for updates, view application checklists, see answers to frequently asked questions, watch video tutorials, and more at https://sba.gov/svogrant. Thank you for your patience as we work to resolve these technical issues with the application portal.
An additional statement shared on Friday confirmed the portal would remain suspended over the weekend, and did not provide any more details as to whether or not it would reopen for applications starting on Monday.
UPDATE: The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant application portal remains temporarily suspended, and will through the weekend, while we work to resolve technical issues. When a reopening date is determined, we’ll provide updates in advance so that applicants have time to prepare.
— SBA (@SBAgov) April 9, 2021
The COVID-19 relief bill passed by both houses on Congress in late December promised to provide qualified venues with federal grants equal to 45% of gross revenue from 2019 with a cap of $10 million per entity, which could be used to pay the operating costs until venues can reopen, possibly later this year. Eligible businesses which can apply to receive federal funding include live venue operators or promoters, theatrical producers, and live performing arts organization operators, to name a few.
Click here for S.B.A. information and updates on the application portal heading into the new week.