What is the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant & How to Apply?


The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program was established by the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act, which was included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, which was signed into law on Dec. 27, 2020.

As a result of the American Rescue Plan Act, the SVOG was further amended. It offers grants equal to 45% of a venue’s gross earned revenue, with a maximum of $10 million available per grant. A reserve pot of $2 billion is available for applicants with up to 50 full-time employees.

  • The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program, established as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 to provide economic relief to shuttered live venues, was scheduled to begin accepting grant applications on April 8, 2021.
  • The program will distribute more than $16 billion in grants of up to $10 million each, equal to 45% of an eligible venue’s gross earned revenue.
  • There is a special reserve fund of $2 billion available to eligible companies with up to 50 employees.
  • Venues that suffered economic losses of 25% to 90% or more due to COVID will be divided into three priority periods.
  • Grants are expected to be disbursed by the end of April 2021.
  • Grant funds may be used for specifically listed expenses.

Eligibility for an SVOG

You are considered for an SVOG based on the type of venue you represent. In accordance with the Economic Aid Act, the entity must be one of the following:

  • Live venue operator or promoter
  • Theatrical producer
  • Live performing arts organization operator
  • Museum operator
  • Motion picture theater operator
  • Talent representative
  • Any subsidiary of an eligible entity that meets the eligibility requirements
  • Any of the above that are operated by a state or local government solely as venues

Ineligible Entities

Even if your venue is otherwise eligible, it would not be considered for a grant if any of the following apply:

  • The company does not operate primarily within the United States, does not have a U.S. location, and does not contribute significantly to the U.S. economy by paying taxes or using American products, materials, or labor.
  • It was not in operation as of Feb. 29, 2020.
  • It is a publicly-traded corporation or is majority-owned by and controlled by a publicly-traded corporation.
  • It presents live performances or sells products or services of a sexually explicit nature.
  • The federal government provided more than 10% of its total revenue in 2019 (excluding disaster assistance).
  • As of February 29, 2020, the company owned or operated venues, theaters, museums, or talent agencies in more than one country; owned or operated venues, theaters, museums, or talent agencies in more than 10 states; and had more than 500 employees.
  • Other firms with which it is affiliated have already received SVOG awards.
  • It is a museum and other museums with which it is affiliated have already received $10 million in SVOG funding.

The SBA has temporarily suspended the SVOG application portal, which is scheduled to open on April 8, 2021, due to technical difficulties. SBA says it will provide advance notice of the time and date before the reopening so all applicants are prepared. You may register for a new account as usual.

Preparing to Apply

In order to avoid delays and insufficient applications, gather all needed documents, obtain a DUNS number, and register with the System for Award Management (SAM.gov). You can find instructions in the SBA Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Applicant User Guide.

Register at the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Application portal. As part of the registration process, enter your email address (which cannot be changed) and create a password.

Upon registering, you will be directed to the main Shuttered Venue Operators Grant page. Thereafter, it’s a matter of following prompts and instructions. Before you begin, you can preview the entire application process in the online Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Applicant User Guide.

If you qualify for one of the priority periods discussed below, you must determine your gross revenue loss from 2019 to 2020. SVOG’s Preliminary Application Checklist lists other required information, including floor plans, contract copies, and additional documentation.

Shuttered Venue Operators Grant applications require multifactor authentication. Download and install the Google Authenticator app on your smartphone.

Submitting Your Application

The following options are available at the end of each major section: click “next” to go to the next one, click “previous” to go back to the beginning of the section you just completed, click “cancel” to erase and reset the section you just completed, or click “Save for later” to save everything and return to the home screen.

At the end, you have the option to submit your application. When you do that, you will begin to receive emails regarding status and changes.

Documentation proving the number of employees and monthly revenues will be needed. You will use this to calculate the average number of eligible employees you had over the previous 12 months.

Priority Periods for Grant Awards

SVOG, which was to start accepting applications on April 8, 2021, has established priority periods for the disbursement of grant awards. The periods are determined based on the amount of economic loss the entity has suffered.

In the meantime, the SBA accepts applications on a first-in, first-out basis within your priority period. Award disbursements are scheduled to begin late April 2021, with the first 14 days of the program dedicated to entities that experienced a 90% or greater revenue loss between April and December of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Within the next 14 days (days 15-28), we will include entities that lost 70 percent or more of their revenue between April and December 2020.

Within those periods, SVOG awards will include entities that suffered a 25% or greater revenue loss between one quarter of 2019 and the corresponding quarter of 2020. Then, if funds remain available, recipients of first-, second-, and third-round awards that suffered a 70% or greater revenue loss for the most recent calendar quarter may apply for a supplemental grant.

If funds become insufficient, the SBA intends to distribute zero-dollar “placeholder” supplemental awards that could be redeemed within six months should Congress appropriate additional funds.