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This page offers all of Delaware Public Media's ongoing coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak and how it is affecting the First State. Check here regularly for the latest new and information.

Performance venues to see federal relief

Delaware Public Media

Some performance venues in Delaware may qualify for a chunk of the latest round of federal COVID relief.

The Shuttered Venues Operators Grant (SVOG) program was part of December’s COVID relief bill and later President Biden’s American Rescue Plan added to the pot. It’s now a total of $16 billion set aside for venues that lost revenue during the pandemic. Awards can be as high as $10 million per venue.

Mark Fields is Executive Director of the Grand Opera House in Wilmington. He says the Grand is applying.

“The cash is very important, of course. But something else that is a little less tangible that’s also important is a recognition that the live entertainment sector and the nonprofit cultural organizations are a vital part of the American economy,” said Fields.  

The Grand was closed with all other venues in the state after Gov. John Carney’s executive order on March 12th, 2020. It has since held drive-in concerts, movies, a holiday light show and live-streamed events. Fields says the Grand doesn’t expect to be open again until the fall.

Fields says the Grand has received funding from the CARES Act and the PPP program, but is still looking to rebound from a $5 million shortfall.

Small Business Administration Delaware District Director John Fleming says he also expects SVOG applications from the Queen in Wilmington, the Milton Theater and several other Delaware theaters. He adds no venue is too small—and it’s not just for venues.

“If you’re a producer, if you’re an organizer or operator of one of these—sometimes you’ll see where companies will sublease out of a venue—they’re eligible,” said Fleming. “Possibly talent representatives are eligible—anyone that’s been affected by the shutdown of the theater”  

The SBA will start taking applications April 5th. An informational webinar is scheduled next week. 

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