It took a months-long marketing campaign for leisure venue operators to get a promise of focused federal reduction through the coronavirus pandemic. Getting the cash itself has taken even longer.
However the U.S. Small Enterprise Administration is near finalizing particulars on how venues, film theaters, live performance promoters and others within the leisure business can acquire their share of $15 billion in support.
“The SBA’s not, in the intervening time, accepting functions,” mentioned Victoria Guerrero, director of the administration’s South Florida district, which incorporates a lot of Tampa Bay. “They’re nonetheless going by means of the method on how that’s going to seem like, the place people might want to apply.”
John Bell, the president and CEO of the Tampa Theatre, mentioned he anticipated functions to come back by means of “inside a few weeks.”
“Because it’s a brand-new program, it’s comprehensible that there’s slightly little bit of delay in getting all the pieces collectively, in order that when the functions do open up, we gained’t hit snags,” Bell mentioned. “We’ve finished as a lot prep as we will, figuring out what they’re going to be in search of in the way in which of numbers and documentation. However we nonetheless don’t know when that’s going to be.”
The grants are a response to the federal government’s preliminary coronavirus reduction bundle final spring, which delivered reduction to some venues, whereas others argued it didn’t go far sufficient. That led to a marketing campaign referred to as Save Our Phases, designed to funnel extra money straight towards employees within the stay leisure business, which largely shut down through the pandemic.
Months of lobbying bought Save Our Phases included in December’s newest $900 billion stimulus and reduction bundle beneath a brand new title: The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant. Grants of as much as 45 % of their gross 2019 income, capped at $10 million, could be out there not solely to venue operators, however theatrical producers, performing arts organizations, film homes, museums, zoos, aquariums, brokers and promoters.
This week, the federal government outlined more detailed guidance about who can apply for what, and for what function the grants can be utilized. The steering mentioned solely that the administration is “working expeditiously” to get functions prepared, but it surely has created of a tough timeline of when sure candidates will see cash.
Through the first 14 days of this system, grants will first be open to companies that misplaced 90 % of their income from 2019. For the following 14 days, it’ll be companies that misplaced 70 %. After that, companies that misplaced 25 % of their funding. On April 1, supplemental funds will probably be made out there to recipients from the primary two 14-day durations whose funding stays down at the very least 70 % in early 2021.
Different companies haven’t needed to wait this lengthy for added reduction. The brand new stimulus bundle included a further $284 billion in funding for the Small Enterprise Administration’s Paycheck Safety Program, which opened to small companies two weeks in the past. However venues eligible for Shuttered Venue grants have been particularly excluded from making use of for these loans.
The newest spherical of Paycheck Safety Program loans has rolled out a lot quicker than the venue grants. From Jan. 11 to Jan. 24, the administration processed greater than 400,000 loans price greater than $35 billion, Guerrero mentioned. Greater than 65 % have been for $50,000 or much less, whereas the common mortgage dimension was $87,000. She mentioned the federal government has forgiven greater than 1.1 million loans price greater than $100 billion, and made funds on practically 85 % of them.
Final spring, the Tampa Theatre acquired a mortgage price $260,900. Bell mentioned that based mostly on calculations from previous revenues and final yr’s losses, they need to be eligible for a grant price between $800,000 to $900,000. He’s glad the Small Enterprise Administration is taking its time to get this rollout proper.
“I recall when the primary PPP mortgage program got here out within the spring of final yr, as we put that factor collectively, it was like taking part in a recreation, however you didn’t know what the foundations have been till halftime,” he mentioned. “Hopefully we will keep away from that right here.”
However he does hope the funding comes quickly.
“Suffice it to say, being fully closed will not be a very good enterprise mannequin,” he mentioned. “We’ve been in a position to survive the shut this lengthy just because we had a few actually stellar years previous to this. However we’re burning by means of our reserves at an alarming fee.”