March 4, 2021

The process for accessing the federal COVID-19 relief that was passed into law last December has undergone many twists and turns in the past few weeks and the League of American Orchestras is sharing the following important and time-sensitive updates. In 2021, new opportunities are available to access a 2021 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) forgivable loan or to seek a Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) and, under current rules, applicants may choose to apply for only one of the two programs. These rules may be changing as Congress considers the current relief package in the coming days. Whether your orchestra has already applied for a PPP loan or has been awaiting the launch of the Shuttered Venue Program, please review the important updates below.

  • Possible Dual Eligibility for PPP and SVOG: The Senate has added a provision to the American Rescue Plan – the latest relief package making its way through Congress – that would allow 2021 PPP recipients to apply for SVOG, and then deduct the value of their PPP loan from the applicant’s SVOG maximum grant amount (45% of 2019 earned revenue, capped at $10 million). The certainty of this option being available cannot be confirmed until the newest relief act is signed into law. Congress and the White House are aiming to complete the relief bill before March 15. The League will keep you posted on the outcome of all aspects of the new relief package, and we are grateful for all of the ongoing advocacy by orchestras, speaking up in partnership with the broader arts sector.
  • PPP Re-Opens to All Applicants Next Week: As a reminder, the White House and Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that starting on Wednesday, February 24, a 14-day period began during which Paycheck Protection Program applications will only be accepted from applicants with fewer than 20 employees, and sole proprietors. The period ends on March 9, 2021, at 5:00pm Eastern, at which point lenders will resume processing for all applicants. Those that qualify for PPP but have not yet applied will want to keep in mind that the 2021 PPP program closes on March 31.
  • Timing Uncertain for SVOG Launch: While the exact timing for opening the Shuttered Venues Operators Grants (SVOG) program is uncertain, it is possible that the program may not launch until after March 31. It is the intention of SBA to continue to build out the guidance, application, and training materials, provide a span of time for applicants to prepare, and then open the portal.
  • Availability of Funds: As of February 28, the SBA PPP Data show that roughly half of PPP funding made available for 2021 has been distributed to loan applicants. As the Shuttered Venues program has not yet launched, it is difficult to predict how quickly the $15 billion in available funding will be depleted, though many anticipate that the demand on the program will be significant.
  • SVOG Eligibility Details: As the League has previously shared, the SVOG Frequently Asked Questions issued by the SBA earlier this week indicate that eligibility for the 28-day priority period for SVOG will be determined based on declines in gross revenue (90% for the first 14 days and 70% for the second 14 days), from April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020 as compared to 2019. All SVOG applicants must demonstrate a 25% decline in earned revenue, in one calendar quarter of 2020, compared to the same quarter in 2019. The SBA will encourage all applicants to submit their applications to the portal at the very start of the program launching, as applications will be processed in the order in which they are received, within the priority period and following its conclusion.

The League will keep you informed of all additional information as soon as it becomes available. In the meantime, please continue to use the League’s questions portal, where we are collecting questions that will inform our ongoing engagement with federal agencies and as we shape upcoming League learning events on these and other federal relief topics. Further background is available in the League’s Shuttered Venue Operators Grants Overview and Paycheck Protection Program Overview, and additional information about federal relief opportunities may be found in the League’s COVID-19 Federal Assistance Resources.

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