U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, is calling for SBA action to provide relief for hard-hit live entertainment venues like the Admiral Theatre in Bremerton, pictured above, and promoters during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Admiral Theatre photo)

U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, is calling for SBA action to provide relief for hard-hit live entertainment venues like the Admiral Theatre in Bremerton, pictured above, and promoters during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Admiral Theatre photo)

Kilmer urges SBA relief for live performance and art venues

The economic venues act established a $15 billion grant program to support shuttered live venues

U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer of the 6th Congressional District is urging U.S. Small Business Administrator Tami Perriello to implement the small business relief authorized in December to help live performance and art venues that have found it hard to make ends meet during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the letter, Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, and fellow Washington 10th District congresswoman Marilyn Strickland, D-Tacoma, emphasized the importance of the SBA providing guidance and application instructions so that businesses can more easily access the urgently needed aid.

Three months ago, the Shuttered Venue Operators program, as part of the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits and Venues Act, was authorized to provide relief for hard-hit performance venues and small businesses catering to audiences seeking art performances.

“Throughout our region, there are venues — for live music, theater, cinema, the arts, and more — that contribute significantly to community vitality,” Kilmer said. “Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for them.

“That’s why Congress took action in December to help ensure that these vital assets in our community could persevere — and continue to employ people long into the future. Unfortunately, since that bill was signed into law, these local small businesses have not received the guidance they need to get the relief they so desperately deserve.”

The economic venues act established a $15 billion grant program to support shuttered live venue operators or promoters, theatrical producers, live performing arts organizations and museum operators, or talent representatives that have experienced significant revenue losses of at least 25%.

The grants can be used for expenses such as payroll costs, rent, utilities and personal protective equipment, and will initially go to the persons or entities with the most need, Kilmer’s office said in a news release.

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