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New $16 billion grant to help out Central Coast venues now open for applications

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Posted at 6:57 PM, Apr 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-09 01:51:10-04

It's been over a year since the coronavirus forced owners of music venues, theaters, and museums to shut their doors.

After taking record-breaking financial hits due to the pandemic, many venues across the Central Coast will be able to apply for assistance. Something organizations say is a big sigh of relief.

A $16 billion grant program operated by the small business administration is officially open for applications.

This program was established through the bipartisan COVID-19 relief package passed in December of 2020, something representative Salud Carbajal voted for.

"The grant program will have a direct benefit for our local economy no doubt ensuring venues like the Santa Barbara Bowl will be here for generations to come,” Carbajal said.

The Santa Barbara Bowl hasn't opened its doors, like many venues across the Central Coast, since the shutdown last year.

"For the first time in its rich history the bowl has been dark for these types of circumstances in a long period of time,” Executive Director for the Santa Barbara Bowl Foundation, Rick Boller said.

Those eligible to apply for a grant include:

  • live venue operator
  • promoter
  • theatrical producer
  • live performing arts organization operator
  • motion picture theater operator
  • museum operator
  • talent representatives.

In Santa Maria, the pacific conservatory theater, better known as p-c-p-a has also been in the dark causing a big financial hit for them.

"Even with all the help that we have gotten, we are still at a loss of revenue that we would make so this will help us just to keep everybody going and to keep moving forward until we are able to open fully again,” Jennifer Schwartz, Director of PCPA said.

The Santa Maria Fairpark, which had to cancel big events like the strawberry festival is also considering applying for a grant.

"We are looking into applying there are still some questions on county fairs being eligible for the money and how you go about becoming eligible for the money,” board member, Randy Jones said.

Those who do receive the grant will be able to get 45% of their gross earned revenue from 2019, with a maximum amount of 10 million dollars.

Applications are on a first-in-first-out basis. According to the SBA, the first award period is expected to be later this month.

While the application process is now open, the small business administration says it’s experiencing technical issues on Thursday with the online portal but is working to address it.

For more information on where to apply click here.