Fall Brings Important Policy News and Opportunities
September 20, 2021
In This Issue
- Act Now: Arts and Recovery
- Shuttered Venues Grants Enter Supplemental Phase
- U.S. to Lift International Travel Restrictions in Early November
Your voice has made a real difference as Congress shapes relief and recovery resources, and it’s time to be heard once again! In the coming weeks, Congress will finalize the contents of massive legislative vehicles intended to build the nation’s infrastructure and provide resources to support recovery amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This legislation is being called a once-in-a-generation investment in U.S. infrastructure and growth. Today’s nonprofit day of action kicks off fresh advocacy efforts nationwide, and we strongly encourage you to participate in this orchestra advocacy campaign, in partnership with the wider arts and nonprofit networks. The League’s Recovery Issue Center includes a full slate of policy priorities being advanced, including support for our nation’s cultural agencies, nonprofit policies, and the ongoing need for relief via the employee retention tax credit. Please act now and stay tuned in the weeks ahead!
As the Small Business Administration (SBA) continues to implement the Shuttered Venue Operators Grants (SVOG) program, eligible applicants are now being invited to accept supplemental grant awards. As invitations continue to roll out, the SBA anticipates beginning distributing supplemental grant funds as early as this week. Some details regarding the supplemental process are included in the SBA’s applicant FAQ (page 38) and post-application FAQ (page 6). The SBA is also working on the details of the steps that grantees will need to complete when closing out the initial and supplemental grant reporting process and will issue further information when it is available. The League remains in dialogue with the SBA regarding this critical form of COVID-19 assistance and will keep orchestras informed as further information becomes available!
This morning, news outlets announced that the Biden Administration will revoke its COVID-19 travel ban currently effecting visitors from 33 countries. Instead, all international travelers flying to the U.S. will be required to be fully vaccinated and test negative when the policy takes effect in early November. Some preliminary information indicates a negative test will be required to be obtained within three days prior to travel and contact tracing will be mandatory, but there are several details still to be ironed out, such as which vaccines will be accepted. Until the current travel ban is formally revoked, a National Interest Exception waiver is still required for most people traveling from or through any of the 33 countries. As far as U.S. land crossings with Canada and Mexico, non-essential travel restrictions have been extended through October 21.
Beyond COVID-19 travel restrictions, there are also persistent challenges when attempting to obtain an artist visa due to processing delays and strains on the capacity of U.S. consulates worldwide. Two weeks ago, the League of American Orchestras co-presented a free webinar on the current state of affairs for obtaining U.S. guest artist visas and traveling internationally. The recording of the webinar, U.S. Artist Visas and International Travel in the Age of COVID, is now available to view free of charge. League members are encouraged to contact our Washington, D.C. office for assistance navigating the visa process and seek a free letter of support to include in visa petitions for guest artists.