The Small Business Administration has changed its guidance on who is eligible to apply for Save Our Stages grants.
After initially stating that only small businesses would be eligible to apply in the first 60 days of the application process, the SBA has removed that restriction. Now, any eligible business that can prove a loss of 90% of revenue will be within the first group eligible to apply, followed by those that have lost at least 70% of their revenue.
Additionally, the SBA has clarified that businesses that were not operating in 2019 may still be eligible to receive grants, so long as the business was “fully operational” on Feb. 29, 2020. This allays the previous concern that newer Broadway productions would not be able to receive funds due to the way in which the grant money was set to be calculated. The legislative text said grant amounts would be calculated by comparing revenue earned in one quarter of 2020 to the same quarter in 2019.
To calculate grants for newer productions, the SBA said it will compare earned revenue in the first quarter to the following quarters of 2020.
The SBA is charged with administering grants and interpreting the legislative text of the Stage Our Stages provision, which was signed into law on Dec. 27, 2020 as part of the $900 billion coronavirus relief package.
Overall, the Save Our Stages provision grants up to $10 million each to live venue operators, producers, promoters and talent representatives to cover expenses such as payroll costs, rent, mortgage payments and utilities.
The SBA made the change in grant prioritization — which initially limited early applications to businesses with 50 employees or fewer — after further study of the legislation.
“The adjustment was made following SBA’s deeper review of the law,” an SBA spokesperson told Broadway News.
The current guidelines may change as the SBA works with Congress to further solidify the program. The SBA has not yet set an exact date for when the program will open, according to the spokesperson.