Federal Relief for large and small entertainment venues is on the way thanks to an on-going nationwide grant program to help the arts industry.
The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program is a part of the Small Businesses Administration's push to provide federal funding to the arts industry. The American Rescue Plan added an additional $1.25 billion in funding, bringing the total to $16 billion.
Junior Sullivan used to work 60-80 hours a week at the Bushnell Theatre as a carpenter for Broadway sets, but in March of 2020, his hours were cut.
"We were in limbo and we didn't know what was going on or when we would be coming back," said Sullivan. "All of my bills are hard and I'm surviving on unemployment, which is very difficult."
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The COVID-19 pandemic caused theatres and performing arts centers like the Bushnell to close their doors. Workers were also furloughed and revenue came to a halt.
"The pandemic took about $7 million dollars out of Bushnell's projected revenues," said David Fay, President, and C.E.O. of the Bushnell.
For the Bushnell, the money will help with payroll and keeping the doors open as consumers slowly start to return.
"We're projecting our budgets right now and they don't look beautiful so we anticipate that and the lost time," said Fay.
As performers get set to retake the stage at the theatre with patrons in the seats that also means more customers coming into neighboring restaurants.
"It's huge for us, I meant that's a huge portion for our business," said Jordan Dikegoros, owner of J Restaurant in Hartford.
The SBA will begin accepting applications for the S.V.OG. program on April 8. The Bushnell is expecting to have their first Broadway plan on October 12.
Those eligible to receive the funding include venues, performing arts operators & promoters, theatrical producers, and many more.
Anyone in business before January 1, 2019, can qualify for grants equal to 45% of their 2019 gross revenue or $10 million dollars, whichever is less.
Those eligible who received P.P.P. loans on or after December 20 of last year, will have their grants reduced by the amount of the P.P.P. loan.