Kansas leaders fight to reopen shuttered event venues as COVID-19 restrictions lift

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – Kansas political leaders have come together to support a bipartisan effort to get critical COVID-19 relief funds to live event venues that have struggled due to the pandemic.

U.S. Senator Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) and Kansas Reps. Sharice Davids and Ron Estes have urged the Small Business Administration to send relief to struggling event venues that were shuttered due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Senator Marshall said the letters were sent to Isabella Casillas Guzman, Small Business Administrator, to urge her to send Shuttered Venue Operator Grant funds to struggling live entertainment venues as soon as possible. He said the legislation that created the program, the Save Our Stages Act, was signed into law over six months ago as part of the December 2020 COVID relief package, and venues are still going out of business while waiting for these grants.

“…The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program, was created to prevent widespread closures of venues that have been devastated by the loss of revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” reads part of the letter the U.S. Senate sent. “As supporters of the SVOG program, we urge you to take immediate action to ensure that the relief reaches eligible applicants without further delay… It has been nearly six months since Congress passed the Save our Stages Act, nearly two months since the second launch of the program, and 51 days since the Small Business Administration (SBA) began receiving applications… Bureaucratic process cannot stand in the way of getting these desperately needed funds out the door.”

In a tweet, Rep. Davids said the program was designed to send crucial relief funds to small venues that are vital to the culture and local economies.

“The rollout of this program and the release of funds is of great concern to us and many of our constituents. In addition to the initial crash of the application portal on April 8th and delay of the opening to April 28th, there has been a significant delay in the processing of applicants and awarding of funds,” reads the letter sent by the U.S. Congress. “According to the Office of Disaster Assistance, as of June 14, the SBA has only approved 411 grants out of the over 14,000 applications submitted, and nearly half of the applications have not yet reached the review stage.”

Congress and the Senate sent separate letters urging the SBA to hand out the critical relief funding.

To read the full letter the U.S. Senate sent, click HERE.

To read the full letter Congress sent, click HERE.

Copyright 2021 WIBW. All rights reserved.

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