Federal government reopens grant applications for movie theaters, entertainment venues after failed launch

A son hugs his mother as a concessions worker hands over napkins and soda inside the AMC movie theater at the Westfield Century City shopping mall in Los Angeles, California, on Monday, March 15, 2021.

Bing Guan | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The Small Business Administration announced Friday that it will reopen an application portal on Saturday for struggling event venues, movie theaters and other performance groups to apply for Covid relief grants.

The portal will begin taking applications on a first-come-first-serve basis Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ET.

The federal agency temporarily suspended the program, known as the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, due to technical glitches during its launch on April 8. The botched rollout angered those in the industry who are desperately waiting for some assistance.

More than $16.2 billion has been allocated to help keep entertainment venues, museums and performing arts organizations in business until in-person events can resume safely.

“We recognize the urgency and need to get this program up and running,” said Barb Carson, deputy associate administrator of SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance, in a press release.

To ensure a more seamless application process, the SBA said it improved security mechanisms in the application portal and added a waiting room feature to combat the large influx of interested applicants.

“With venue operators in danger of closing, every day that passes by is a day that these businesses cannot afford,” said Carson. “We remain dedicated to delivering emergency aid as quickly as possible and will begin reviewing the applications on Saturday as they are submitted.”



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