WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) today introduced the SOS Extension Act, which would extend the timeline for using Small Business Administration (SBA) Shuttered Venue Operators Grants, created by his bipartisan Save Our Stages Act, from the end of 2021 to spring of 2023.
“Struggling entertainment venues waited months for SBA to distribute relief after the passage of Save Our Stages, and now these small businesses, many of which are still shuttered, may lose the grant funds they need to survive the pandemic,” Sen. Cornyn said. “This legislation would allow these independent music venues, theatres, and dance halls more time to spend these funds wisely instead of forcing them into a ‘use it or lose it’ scenario.”
“Last year, we refused to sit back and let the music die, which is why we passed the bipartisan Save Our Stages Act,” said Sen. Klobuchar. “As we continue to recover from the pandemic, I’m proud to introduce this legislation to extend the timeline for venues to use this relief funding, helping to ensure they’ll be able to make ends meet and keep serving our communities for generations to come.”
The Save Our Stages Act was signed into law as part of the omnibus funding bill on Dec. 27, 2020. Given months-long delays from the SBA in launching this program and disbursing the grants, many venue owners are struggling to use their funding by the end of December, forcing them spend millions in only three months while their venues remain shuttered due to COVID restrictions. Unless this deadline is extended, venues could have to return billions of their grant dollars to the SBA.
Senators Cornyn and Klobuchar’s Save Our Stages Act:
- Narrowly defined eligibility to ensure only small shuttered and at-risk venues qualified for federal grant funding
- Directed the SBA to make grants to eligible venues equal to the lesser of either 45 percent of operation costs from calendar year 2019 or $10 million
- Permitted recipients to use grants for essential expenses incurred during the COVID pandemic
- Permits recipients to use grants for rent, utilities, mortgage obligations, PPE procurement, payments to contractors, regular maintenance, administrative costs, state and local taxes, operating leases, and capital expenditures related to meeting state, local, or federal social distancing guidelines
This legislation is being led in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressmen Peter Welch (VT-At Large) and Rodney Davis (IL-13).
This legislation is supported by the Association of Performing Arts Professionals, Broadway Across America, Coalition of Performing Arts Centers, League of American Orchestras, League of Historic American Theatres, National Association of Theater Owners, National Independent Talent Organization, National Independent Venue Association, Performing Arts Alliance, Performing Arts Managers and Agents Coalition, Preservation Hall Foundation, The Broadway League, and Theatre Communications Group.