(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship Chair Ben Cardin (D-Md.) today issued a statement after the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program (SVOG) will begin accepting applications on Thursday, April 8. SVOG was created by the bipartisan Economic Aid Act passed by Congress in December, and will make grants to eligible live venues, independent movie theaters, and other cultural institutions that can demonstrate a revenue loss of 25 percent to address the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program was appropriated $15 billion when it was created in December, and was appropriated an additional $1.25 billion by the historic American Rescue Plan enacted last week. The plan also updated SVOG to allow entities that have already received a Paycheck Protection Program loan to apply for SVOG to address the program’s delayed opening.

“I am excited that America’s live events industry is now only weeks away from receiving help from SVOG,” Cardin said. “SVOG will provide more than $16 billion in aid to live venues, independent movie theaters, and other institutions that enrich our communities with culture and entertainment. Congress created this program because the live events industry has been one of the hardest hit during the pandemic, and I am looking forward to working with Administrator Guzman to help as many of our vital cultural institutions as possible.”