February 2, 2021

In This Issue

Guidance on the Shuttered Venue Operators Grants Emerges as PPP Fully Opens

The League of American Orchestras is posting up-to-the-minute information about the latest federal COVID-19 relief options as applicants try to make an informed decision between immediately seeking support through the fully operational Paycheck Protection Program or awaiting full guidance spelling out the eligibility requirements for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program. Last week, the Small Business Administration (SBA) issued a Shuttered Venue Operators Grants FAQ clarifying that entities that file an application to the PPP program in 2021 will be ineligible to apply to SVOG, unless the PPP application has been rejected.

The SBA will post further guidance in the coming days and weeks, and all is subject to change as the agency continues to respond to stakeholder feedback before opening the grant application portal. In the meantime, potential applicants are urged to ensure they are registered for the Grants.gov system, which requires advanced preparation and time to complete. The League is summarizing all information on this rapidly-changing process in our COVID-19 Federal Relief overview, where we post all news we’re gathering through our conversations with SBA officials and in dialogue with our coalition partners. Be sure to refresh the link often, and we’ll share more news as we have it.

Speak Up as Congress Designs Next Relief Package!

In a campaign coordinated by the League, orchestras reached the entire U.S. Senate and 358 U.S. House offices to urge support for the creative sector in the multiple 2020 COVID-19 relief packages. Please keep communicating with your elected officials! The League has an active COVID-19 advocacy campaign that includes background, talking points, and access information for your elected officials as we continue to partner with the broader nonprofit and arts sectors to advance support throughout the duration of the coronavirus crisis. As Congress and the White House begin negotiations this week, we are urging Congress to swiftly enact full coverage of self-insured unemployment liability, pension relief, expanded pandemic unemployment benefits, enhanced charitable giving incentives, public education funding, and additional forms of direct federal relief funding to support the arts and nonprofit sectors. You can learn more in the nonprofit coalition letter (PDF) the League joined in endorsing, and find our overview of arts sector requests here. Thank you for your continued advocacy!

League Advances Arts and Nonprofit Requests to Biden-Harris Administration

The League has partnered with nonprofit and arts stakeholders to shape recommendations to the Biden-Harris Administration to support immediate and long-term policy actions that will strengthen the creative sector and advance national policy priorities amid the COVID-19 crisis and in the years to come. The requests span an array of policy concerns that connect to COVID relief, economic recovery, racial equity, and request a coordinated approach to arts and nonprofit policy that will cut across federal agencies and have consistent attention with the Domestic Policy Council.

Travel Advisories: What’s Out, What’s Extended, and What’s New

Over the last two weeks, the Biden Administration has signed a number of Executive Orders that affect both domestic and international travel. First, President Biden signed an order ending the discriminatory travel bans that had barred most citizens from entering the U.S. from primarily Muslim and African countries. While it had been possible to engage artists on a limited basis, the process was very difficult and frequently required legal assistance to obtain the necessary waivers. Embassies and consulates are now directed to resume visa processing, reconsider applications that had been denied, and ensure previous denials due to Proclamation 9645 or 9983 do not result in future prejudicial visa processing.

However, due to ongoing and increasing concerns about variants of the coronavirus, President Biden has extended the COVID-19 ban on travelers from Brazil, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Schengen Area countries, and to that list he has added South Africa. In addition to that ban, the Administration has issued a federal mask order that mandates travelers within the U.S. and those who enter from abroad wear masks when traveling on airplanes, trains, ships, intercity buses, and while on federal property. The same executive order builds upon a CDC order that requires all international travelers (including U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents) to produce proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days prior to entry or proof of recovery and to comply with applicable CDC guidance and recommendations. The League has shared more details via its Artists from Abroad’s News section.

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