Indie Cinema Owners Finally File for Federal Aid – Now the Waiting Begins

The Small Business Association has opened the Shuttered Venue Operators grant application process and aims to start sending checks in May

After an anxious four-month wait, indie cinemas and other entertainment venues financially wrecked by COVID-19 were finally able to apply for the Shuttered Venue Operators (SVO) grant this week, providing hope that federal aid may finally be on the way for thousands of businesses on the edge of bankruptcy.

“The sense of relief is palpable,” Audrey Fix Schaefer of the National Independent Venue Association told TheWrap. “We have heard from many venue operators who have been preparing for weeks to send in this application that the process was smooth and straightforward when it opened on Monday. We hope that they will be processed quickly and that we can start seeing those funds come sometime in the next month.”

In the first 24 hours of open applications, a spokesperson for the Small Business Administration said the SVO grant site received 17,356 applications, with 7,884 being fully completed and submitted. Over the next two weeks, applicants who suffered revenue loss of more than 90% year-to-year from April to December 2020 will be able to apply for grants equal to 45% of that lost revenue or a maximum of $10 million. Checks will be distributed to qualified applicants starting in May.

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Jeremy Fuster

Box Office Reporter • • Twitter: @jeremyfuster