Among the various bills that were amalgamated in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (the omnibus appropriations and stimulus funding bill that was signed into law on December 27, 2020) was a modified version of the Save Our Stages Act (the “SOS Act”), a bill first introduced into the Senate by Sen. John Cornyn (TX) on July 22, 2020. The SOS Act can be found in Section 324 of the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Business, Nonprofits, and Venues Act, which act comprises Title III of Division N of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021.  The SOS Act establishes a new grant program (the “SOS Program”, also known as the “grant program for shuttered venue operators”) to be administered by the Small Business Administration (“SBA”) to aid certain financially distressed venue operators, event promoters or producers, and talent representatives.

While the SOS Program is not yet active as of the date of this posting (the SBA is currently developing its rules and regulatory framework), once live, it will provide an important lifeline to eligible recipients through one or more grants up to a total of $10 million per recipient (subject to caps based on a recipient’s historical revenue, fund availability limitations, and other conditions).

In order to assist potentially eligible businesses in getting the most out of the SOS Program, we are preparing a two-part article discussing the SOS framework and its key features. Those who wish to partake in the program should begin to prepare now as grants will be provided on a first-come, first-serve basis during very short windows and only to the extent the $15 billion of funds appropriated for the SOS Program remain available.

In this article, the first of our alerts on the SOS Program, we summarize the eligibility requirements of the SOS Program. In our next alert, we will address the grant making itself, including the grant application process, staged prioritization and timing of grant approvals, including possible supplemental grants, determination of maximum grant amounts, and authorized uses of grant proceeds.


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