Venue operators from across Long Island’s North Shore, including from My Father’s Place in Roslyn and Landmark on Main Street in Port Washington, gathered in Port last week with U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) to tout how the Shuttered Venues Operators Grant program, expanded by the recently-passed American Rescue Plan, will assist independent entertainment venues as theaters begin to reopen.
In addition to Suozzi, My Father’s Place owner and founder Michael “Eppy” Epstein and Landmark on Main Street Executive Director Laura Mogul, owner Kevin O’Neill of the John Engeman Theater in Northport and co-owners Jim Condron and Stephen Ubertini of The Paramount in Huntington were present at the event, which took place March 31 outside of the Landmark.
“The effects of this pandemic have been cruelly uneven with one of the hardest-hit sectors being live entertainment venues, performing arts organizations, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions,” Suozzi said at the event. “The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program, which was expanded by the American Rescue Plan, will deliver a desperately needed lifeline that will breathe life once again into our local entertainment industry.”
On Long Island, according to a study by Suffolk and Nassau counties on the economic impacts of COVID-19, the hospitality industry lost 82,000 jobs. Nationally, 90 percent of venue owners, promoters and bookers reported they are at risk of closing without additional financial assistance and an estimated $9 billion in losses should ticket sales not resume until 2021.
The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant is a $16 billion program that aims to help shuttered venue operators impacted by the pandemic. It was established by the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits and Venues Act, passed in December, and amended with the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act. The program will be administered by the Small Business Administration’s Office of Disaster Assistance.
At least $2 billion is set aside for small venue operators that have fewer than 50 employees. The grant amounts will vary, depending on when a business began operations, but operators will likely receive up to 45% of their pre-pandemic gross received revenue, or $10 million, whichever is less. The application process, which allows venue operators to apply for loans through the program even if they have previously received funds from the Paycheck Protection Program, begins on Thursday. Applications will be taken on a rolling basis with no deadline, and priority will be given to businesses that report the greatest loss.
“We at Landmark so appreciate Congressman Suozzi’s work on behalf of Long Island’s performance venues,” Mogul said in her remarks. “Live performance venues are economic multipliers, community anchors and critical threads in the cultural fabric of New York state. Without the live performance ecosystem, bars, restaurants, hotels, retail shops, parking facilities, and other businesses that depend on our venues to attract audiences will continue to struggle to survive.”
Business owners can visit https://www.svograntportal.sba.gov/s/ for more information and to review application materials.