Advocacy Update: Shuttered Venue Operator Grants Portal to Reopen on Saturday, April 24, 2021 at 12:30pm Eastern Time

By Laurie Baskin posted 04-23-2021 16:42

  

The Small Business Administration issued a Tweet followed by an email announcement the evening of Thursday, April 22, that new guidance would be issued on Friday, April 23, and that the Portal would reopen on Saturday. TCG has learned that the time of reopening will be 12:30pm Eastern Time.

  • A new applicant user guide has been posted

  • New FAQs have also been posted. The FAQ indicates new content.

  • A new application checklist is also available. According to the SBA, the checklist will not add new documentation requirements, but will better explain which documents are required, and which are optional.

  • Saturday, April 24, 12:30pm Eastern time is the opening time. An hour in advance of opening, the portal will post a "holding" message.

  • The SBA is implementing a waiting room between the portal server and applicants so that if the server gets overwhelmed, applicants will be captured and hold their place in line. The SBA will be explaining this concept to applicants.

  • Applicants who have not yet registered for an SVOG account should do so as soon as possible.

  • An important reminder: Everyone may apply on the first day of the portal re-opening. The program is being administered on a first-come-first-serve basis. Once the portal opens, applicants can submit an application at any time, regardless of whether an organization fits within one of the two priority periods. Within priority periods, SBA will process qualifying applications in the order received.

  • Grant reviewers will be instructed to look at applications in a comprehensive manner to spot omissions that are simple errors. There will be a process in place to fix simple errors, with a particular awareness of the complexity of the tax return documentation.

  • Multiple document uploads will be available, with more clarity about what is required, and what optional information will better support an application.

  • The revised revenue chart included in the new application form is among the most substantial changes to the guidance. The SBA has specified that maximum grants amounts will be calculated based on 45% of calendar 2019 earned revenues (FAQ, page 31, question 11). The SBA has clarified that all applicants must demonstrate at least a 25% gross earned revenue decline in at least one quarter of 2020, compared to the same quarter in 2019 (Application, Question 4). [Please note that TCG and the Performing Arts Alliance are still communicating with SBA on this point, but this is the guidance as of now.]

  • The SBA is referring applicants to their Customer Service Call Center to address technology questions (such as a password reset, browser suggestions, or how to use the multi-factor authentication with an app and the QR code) at 1-800-659-2955 (or for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, 1-800-877-8339) and follow the prompts to SVOG assistance. The Customer Service Call Center will be open today until 8:00 p.m. (EDT) and reopen at 8:00 a.m. (EDT) tomorrow and be open 24 hours a day through Monday evening at 8:00 p.m. (EDT).

  • More substantive questions should be addressed to the SBA resource partners. Find local SBA resource partners at www.sba.gov/localassistance.

A couple of additional notes:  TCG’s Finance Director Circle Group is a good place to ask questions and receive responses from peers and from TCG staff. Please continue to use this resource as we navigate the reopening of the SVOG portal. And, the extremely tight timeframe between new guidance being released and the grant portal re-opening presents significant challenges to applicants, coupled with a Saturday opening application date. TCG will remain in dialogue with the SBA to communicate questions and recommendations regarding access to this essential form of federal support as this program is administered throughout the coming weeks and months of the full grantmaking process.

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