The National Independent Venue Association supported a bipartisan bill to expand the “Save Our Stages” program, in part because of the stilted deployment of the original program.
Guest post by James shotwell of Haulix
Biparty bill to extend the deadline for incurring emergency relief expenses sought due to the delayed deployment of the SVOG program and the unexpected challenges of the delta variants
Stakeholders of the Save our steps Act, now known as the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG), fully supports the bipartisan “Save Our Stages Extension Act” which will give entities that have been closed due to the pandemic more time to spend the $ 16 billion. dollars in emergency COVID relief.
Presented today by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), Representative Peter Welch (D-VT) and Representative Rodney Davis (R-IL-13), The Project This law extends the date on which approved expenses must be incurred until March 11, 2023, instead of the original law which required expenses to be incurred before December 31, 2021. It does not add more money to the grant fund.
“We are grateful to have bipartisan support again as we navigate as places of gathering in the throes of this difficult time,” said Dayna Frank, National Independent Venue Association board chair and CEO. of First Avenue Productions in Minneapolis. “These grants have truly saved our businesses and, with the extra time, we will be in the best position to maximize the responsible use of taxpayer funds, ensuring our ability to thrive, hire people and be the economic engines of our communities. . “
“The Save Our Stages Expansion Act will maximize the positive impacts of this critical grant aid program, which has been critical to the survival of so many cinemas and live event venues during the public health crisis.” global, ”said John Fithian, National Association of President and CEO of Theater Owners. “We express our gratitude to Senators Amy Klobuchar and John Cornyn and Representatives Peter Welch and Rodney Davis for their continued leadership and tireless efforts on behalf of independent theaters serving communities large and small across the country. We urge Congress to act quickly to support this legislation. “
Organizations that support the Save Our Stages Extension Act include the Association of Performing Arts Professionals, Broadway Across America, the Coalition of Performing Arts Centers, the League of American Orchestras, the League of Historic American Theaters, the National Association of Theater Owners, the National Independent Talent Organization, the National Independent Venue Association, Performing Arts Alliance, Performing Arts Managers and Agents Coalition, Preservation Hall Foundation, The Broadway League and Theater Communications Group.
Context of why SVOG stakeholders requested this extension:
1. Most predicted that it would take 45-60 days for SVOG relief to start flowing after the bill was enacted on December 27, 2020, but nine months after the law was passed and four months after the bill was passed. after submitting applications, many sites are still awaiting funding.
As promulgated, the initial grants are to be used for costs incurred by December 31, 2021. However, many eligible small business owners were not able to incur normal costs prior to starting. be sure their request has been approved. They have been delayed in their efforts to rehire employees; pay off rent, mortgages and utilities; or perform HVAC system upgrades to mitigate the spread of COVID until they receive emergency relief. These small businesses need more time to properly use their grants, according to the law.
2. The Delta variant is already adding significant hurdles to reviving our industries, as music tours and theatrical engagements are canceled, ticket buyers request refunds or don’t show up, and ticket sales stall. , even from figures for early July. For example, major tours including Garth Brooks, BTS, Stevie Nicks, Florida Georgia Line and Neil Young were recently canceled. We are seeing entire tours, festivals and even one-day cancellations as artists and their teams test positive for COVID and use safety precautions.
With an uncertain reopening due to the continuing pandemic and COVID-19 variants along with unknown customer comfort levels, changing guidelines and varying restrictions nationally and locally, our industry needs more time. long for the use of these funds.