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Austin sites assess COVID-19 relief options

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AUSTIN (KXAN) – The COVID-19 relief plan signed by President Donald Trump over the weekend also approves grants for performance venues called “Save Our Stages.”

There is also a second round of Paycheck Protection Program loans, but sites cannot apply for both.

Some, like Elephant Room, are weighing their options.

“We are a basement bar. We understand this is not the first place to reopen, ”said Michael Mordecai, Elephant Room Music Director and trombone player.

Mordecai says federal funding opportunities will help them stay afloat until then. He says they are discussing the options with their chartered accountant, but are looking to apply for the Save Our Stages or SOS grant.

SOS recipients can obtain grants of up to $ 10 million.

“It’s not really a decision for me,” said Mitch Roberts, CEO of Evo Entertainment Group.

Roberts says they applied for a PPP loan earlier this year, but will opt for SOS this time around, which doesn’t have to be paid back. He says the rules are also more flexible and tailored to their industry.

“The use of funds is not that restricted. This not only allows us to pay the payroll, but also to pay things like rent … accounts payable where we have to pay a vendor or an independent contractor who was supposed to play a show or marketing expenses for that show or for said upcoming movie, “he explained.

The National Independent Venue Association, a strong advocate for SOS, lists these reasons and more on why P3 loans were not effective for this industry.

Roberts is hoping the Small Business Administration will start dishing out money in the coming weeks. Until then, there is another lifeline for dozens of Austin locations thanks to the city’s SAVES fund.

“This $ 20,000 will be a very crucial dressing in getting the sites to at least a place where they can stop the bleeding until further help arrives,” said Patrick Buchta, executive director of the group. Austin Texas nonprofit defense. The musicians.

Buchta says about 70 concert halls have applied for the city grant, and he expects those same companies to apply for the SOS grant.

Mordecai says they just received their SAVES grant and are using it to help start a “club casting” and stream shows online.

“Hearing that SOS has passed, hearing that we now have money in the bank thanks to the SAVES law, the Elephant room is thrilled with it all,” he said.

The City of Austin SAVES Fund is accepting applications until January 11. You can find more information here.

How will SOS be paid?

According to the SBA, the most affected sites will have priority for the first 28 days of the program. The agency indicates that a reserve fund will be set up for sites after this priority period.

There will also be $ 2 billion set aside for sites that have 50 or fewer employees.

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