Shuttered Venue Operator Grants (Formerly Save Our Stages) -- SBA Guidance Begins to Emerge

By Laurie Baskin posted 02-02-2021 12:04


Timing for opening the application process is uncertain, and SBA is posting preliminary information, subject to change in response to stakeholder feedback, on their Shuttered Venue Operators Grants (SVOG) web page. SBA will not write a rulemaking on the program and will instead opt for less formal guidance for applicants.

While complete guidance on implementation of the program is not available, SBA will provide further web updates and video guides about the grants, who can apply, how potential organizations can prepare, and additional details regarding eligibility and applications.

Important Links:




  • SBA's webinar recordingfrom January 14, 2021

  • Email questions to (Please include topic in the subject line. Note that as of February 1, SBA has received more than 7,500 emails. This portal helps track priority areas of concern, but emails may not be answered directly)


Prepare Now:


  • Confirm your SAM registration now! SBA will place a notice to initiate the application process on, and all applicants will be required to have a DUNS number and register with the System for Award Management (SAM), where your organization's information must be renewed annually. Please remember that you can always go directly to to renew your DUNS number directly and without cost.

  • gov Contact Center is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. (Phone: 1-800-518-4726. email:

  • gov Federal Service Desk: Call 1-866-606-8220 or see the information posted on the website at SAM User Guides


  • District and regional SBA offices may be a resource for technical assistance throughout the application process, and some will be providing specialized stakeholder events.


  • While detailed information is not yet available on required documentation, SBA recommends that applicants “gather documents that demonstrate your number of employees and monthly revenues so you can calculate the average number of qualifying employees you had over the prior 12 months. Lastly, determine the extent of gross earned revenue loss you experienced between 2019 and 2020. This and additional information such as floor plans, contract copies and other evidence will be needed to apply for an SVOG.”

Eligible entities:

  • An applicant may have received a PPP forgivable loan in 2020 but must choose whether to apply for a Shuttered Venues grant or PPP loan in 2021. SBA has clarified that the act of applying for a 2021 PPP loan will make that entity ineligible for applying for a SVOG. Only after a PPP application is rejected may the applicant apply for SVOG.

  • There is no guidance yet on whether eligible entities will be able to leverage the SVOG program and the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC). 

  • Theatres can qualify to apply, even if they do not own their performance space. “Live performing arts organization operators” are specifically eligible and are defined as an individual or entity that “as a principal business activity, organizes, promotes, produces, manages, or hosts live concerts, comedy shows, theatrical productions, other events by performing artists."

Timing of Application:


  • Once the SVOG program is operational, the SBA encourages eligible entities to apply as soon as the application opens. The SBA will sort the applications and distribute grants accordingly based on the various priority periods and set-asides. Do not wait 14 or 28 days to apply.


Revenue Definitions:


  • "Earned revenue" and "gross earned revenue" are now more clearly defined in the FAQs. With regard to the priority periods, it seems that the critical question of the definition of “revenue” is still being determined. We do not yet know if “revenue” will be defined as gross revenue or gross earned revenue. Watch carefully for the final word on this since it will impact your application. 


SBA Information Sessions:

  • The SBA will hold various informational sessions at the national level and at the state/local levels through its district officesprior to the start of the SVOG program. It is expected that trainings will cover eligibility requirements, revenue requirements, and how to apply including DUNS and SAMS numbers. It is suggested that you contact your regional SBA office and begin to establish a relationship.


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