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Strickland, Kilmer Urge Small Business Administration to Implement Relief for Live Performance and Art Venues

March 16, 2021

Olympia, WA— Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland (WA-10) and Congressman Derek Kilmer (WA-6) sent a letter to U.S. Small Business Administrator Tami Perriello urging the implementation of the small business relief authorized in December, including the Shuttered Venue Operators program, as part of the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act, in order to help live performance and art venues that have been finding it hard to make ends meet. In the letter, Strickland and Kilmer expressed the importance of the SBA providing the guidance and application instructions, so that businesses can more easily access this urgently-needed aid. (Please find a copy of the letter below and at this link.)

“Small businesses in the South Sound have been especially burdened by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Strickland. “Many businesses have had to adapt or even temporarily close in order to comply with public health requirements while other businesses, such as live venues and live performing arts organizations, have been unable to develop alternative business models because of necessary health restrictions on indoor activities. Three months after the Shuttered Venue Operators program was authorized in The Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act, the application and guidelines have yet to be released. I am urging the SBA to quickly implement the Shuttered Venue Operators program and all small business relief authorized last year so that these struggling businesses can stay afloat.” 

“Throughout our region, there are venues - for live music, theater, cinema, the arts, and more - that contribute significantly to community vitality. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for them. That’s why Congress took action in December to help ensure that these vital assets in our community could persevere - and continue to employ people long into the future,” said Kilmer. “Unfortunately, since that bill was signed into law, these local small businesses have not received the guidance they need to get the relief they so desperately deserve.  That’s why Rep. Strickland and I are urging the SBA to get moving before it’s too late.”

The Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act established a $15 billion grant program to support shuttered live venue operators or promoters, theatrical producers, live performing arts organization operators, museum operators, motion picture theatre operators, or talent representatives that have experienced significant revenue losses of at least 25 percent. The grants can be used for expenses such as payroll costs, rent, utilities, and personal protective equipment and will initially go to the persons or entities with the most need.  

The letter text can be found below:

March 12, 2021

 

Ms. Tami Perriello

SBA Administrator (Acting)

U.S. Small Business Administration

409 3rd St., SW

Washington, DC 20416

 

Dear Ms. Perriello,

As you are aware, small businesses have been especially burdened by the coronavirus pandemic.  Many have temporarily closed their doors in order to keep the public safe.  Some small businesses, such as live venues and live performing arts organization operators, have not been able to develop alternative business models because of necessary health restrictions on indoor activities.  That is why Congress authorized the Shuttered Venue Operators (SVO) program in the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act which became law December 27, 2020.

As you know, the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act established a $15 billion grant program to support shuttered live venue operators or promoters, theatrical producers, live performing arts organization operators, museum operators, motion picture theatre operators, or talent representatives that have experienced significant revenue losses of at least 25 percent.  The grants can be used for expenses such as payroll costs, rent, utilities, and personal protective equipment and will initially go to the persons or entities with the most need.

We understand that the Small Business Administration (SBA) has been working tirelessly to get critical programs including SVO up and running amidst the transition to the Biden Administration. We are grateful for your efforts to do so quickly. However, we are concerned that three months after this program was authorized the application process and guidance have not yet been released.  We urge you to prioritize implementation of the SVO program and all small business relief authorized by the FY2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act.  As you know, it is vitally important that SBA provides guidance as quickly as possible, to ensure our hardest hit businesses can stay afloat through the pandemic.

As we mark a year since the coronavirus pandemic shut down small businesses, we trust that SBA will continue your work to ensure these closures remain temporary and not permanent by releasing SVO and other critical SBA guidance quickly.

 

Sincerely,

Marilyn Strickland

Member of Congress

 

Derek Kilmer

Member of Congress

Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland serves as a Member of the House Armed Services Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. 

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