Shuttered Venue Operators Grants: What You Should Know

Please note: This blog is current to the date of its publication, Wednesday, Feb. 10. For additional updates or assistance navigating these uncertain times, please contact us or visit our SST COVID-19 resource page.


The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program was created by the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits and Venues Act that was signed into law in late December 2020. This program provides $15 billion in funding to shuttered venues and will be administered by the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Disaster Assistance. While the SBA is not yet accepting applications, it never hurts to be proactive. Below, we’ve outlined the top things to know about the SVOG as you prepare to apply.

Learn more about the SVOG program and how it could benefit your organization by connecting with the experts at SST today.

Eligible entities can apply for grants equal to 45% of their gross earned revenue, up to $10 million, and funding will be distributed to hardest-hit organizations first, based on the SBA’s prioritization plan.

Eligible entities can be for-profit or nonprofit organizations that were in operation as of Feb. 29, 2020, and experienced a gross revenue reduction of at least 25% during at least one quarter of 2020 in comparison to the same quarter in 2019. Eligible entities include:

  • Live venue operators and promoters
  • Theatrical producers
  • Live performing arts organization operators
  • Relevant museum operators
  • Zoos and aquariums that meet specific criteria
  • Movie theater operators
  • Talent representatives
  • A business entity owned by an eligible entity

An entity will not be considered eligible if it received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan on or after Dec. 27, 2020, or if the entity has a pending PPP loan application which was applied for on or after Dec. 27, 2020. However, entities that applied for and received a PPP loan prior to Dec. 27, 2020, are eligible to apply for the SVOG. The SBA illustrates cross program eligibility here.

Grant funds may be used for specific expenses, including:

  • Payroll and contract labor
  • Rent, utilities and maintenance costs
  • Administrative costs
  • Insurance payments
  • State and local taxes and fees
  • Scheduled mortgage payments (excluding prepayment of principal)
  • Operating leases (in effect as of Feb. 15, 2020)
  • Scheduled debt payments (excluding prepayment of principal) on eligible indebtedness incurred prior to Feb. 15, 2020
  • Worker protection expenditures
  • Advertising, production, transportation and capital expenditures related to producing a theatrical or live performing arts production (may not be primary use of funds)

Grantees must retain documentation related to employment for four years and all other records for three years following receipt of the grant.

Recently, the SBA issued a set of FAQs clarifying eligibility and use of funds, as well as steps eligible organizations can take to prepare for the application process. Key takeaways include the following:

  • Register for a Dun and Bradstreet (DUNS) number, which is a prerequisite for registering in the System for Award Management (
  • Register with the federal government’s SAM – individual taxpayer identification numbers, employer identification numbers or other means of identification will not be accepted
  • Gather documents that demonstrate your number of employees and monthly revenue in order to calculate the average number of qualifying employees over the previous 12 months
  • Determine extent of gross earned revenue loss experienced between 2019 and 2020
  • Gather documents including floor plans, contract copies and other supporting information

While COVID-19 relief programs are comprehensive and seemingly complex, the experts at SST are equipped and available to help your organization navigate each option. Learn more about our services and contact us today for an in-depth look at your financial needs.

Thanks to SST Partner Emily Cook for providing the content for this post. Follow SST on LinkedIn for the latest industry updates and insight.