Senators introduce bill to extend “Save Our Stages” grant deadline for independent venues

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Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) today introduced the SOS Extension Act, which would extend the time limit for using subsidies for operators of sites closed by the Small Business Administration, created by its bipartisan partner. Save our steps Act, from late 2021 to spring 2023.

The movement is largely inspired by the delay of more than six months between the adoption of the Covid relief law of 16 billion dollars “Save Our Stages” in December and independent theaters and theaters actually begin to receive funds; in June, the SBA overhauled the management of the program and funds have started to flow truly. Cornyn and Klobuchar are the authors of the law, which has received broad support in Congress and throughout the entertainment industry.

The law would only extend the deadline and not ask for additional funds. A representative from the National Independent Venue Association pointed out two factors that made the extension necessary: ​​As promulgated, the initial grants are to be used for costs incurred by December 31, 2021. However, many homeowners of qualifying small businesses were unable to incur normal fees until they were certain their application was approved. They have been delayed in their efforts to rehire employees; pay off rent, mortgages and utilities; or perform HVAC system upgrades to mitigate the spread of COVID until they receive emergency relief. These small businesses need more time to properly use their grants, according to the law.

Additionally, as the continuing pandemic and COVID-19 variants have deeply complicated reopening of these sites as well as across the country – not to mention evolving guidelines and varying restrictions at state and local levels – sites need a longer period for the use of these funds.

Organizations that support the Save Our Stages Extension Act include the Association of Performing Arts Professionals, Broadway Across America, the Coalition of Performing Arts Centers, the League of American Orchestras, the League of Historic American Theaters, the National Association of Theater Owners, the National Independent Talent Organization, the National Independent Venue Association, Performing Arts Alliance, Performing Arts Managers and Agents Coalition, Preservation Hall Foundation, The Broadway League and Theater Communications Group.

Struggling entertainment venues have waited months for the SBA to distribute relief after Save Our Stages went through, and now these small businesses, many of which are still closed, could lose the grant funds they need to survive. the pandemic, ”said Senator Cornyn. “This law would give these independent concert halls, theaters and dance halls more time to spend those funds wisely rather than forcing them to adopt a ‘use it or lose it’ scenario.”

“Last year we refused to sit down and let the music die, which is why we passed the bipartisan Save Our Stages law,” said Senator Klobuchar. “As we continue to recover from the pandemic, I am proud to introduce this legislation to extend the time frame for the use of this relief funding by sites, helping to ensure that they will be able to make ends meet. and to continue to serve our communities for generations to come. “

“We are grateful to have bipartisan support again as we navigate as places of gathering in the throes of this difficult time,” said Dayna Frank, National Independent Venue Association board chair and CEO. of First Avenue Productions in Minneapolis. “These grants have truly saved our businesses and, with the extra time, we will be in the best position to maximize the responsible use of taxpayer funds, ensuring our ability to thrive, hire people and be the economic engines of our communities. . “

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