The federal government will try again on Monday to accept applications for COVID-19 aid grants from independent cinemas, museums, concert halls and other live performance rooms after the application portal crashed two weeks ago.

The US Small Business Administration announced on Friday that the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program was reopening 26th of April at noon and hopefully accept his first applications.

Due to “technical problems”, SBA had to close the SVOG application portal hours after it opened on April 8th. However, on Friday the agency announced it had “completed rigorous testing” to ensure the portal’s reliability, including “security mechanisms” and the addition of a virtual waiting room “to ensure a proper application process”.

SBA also said that venue owners can get an upfront account by going sba.gov/svogrant. To do this, they should have a smartphone with a multi-factor authentication app, the agency said.

Due to technical problems, SBA had to close the application portal hours after it opened on April 9th. Photo credit: Newsday / Steve Pfost

For assistance using the application portal, call 800-659-2955.

“We recognize the urgency and need to get this program up and running,” said Barb Carson, assistant associate administrator of the SBA Office of Disaster Assistance, which oversees SVOG. The agency “will start examining applications on Monday as soon as they are submitted,” she said.

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The SVOG was launched in December by Congress and then-President Donald Trump to provide up to $ 10 million per venue, which governments closed to slow the spread of the coronavirus a year ago. More than $ 16.2 billion is available to help venues recover from their huge loss of revenue in 2020.

SBA has estimated it will receive 15,000 SVOG applications; The average grant is expected to be $ 1 million. Priority will be given to venues that experienced a 90% or more drop in revenue from the pandemic between April and December 2020.

This is the second time in about a year that one of the agency’s application portals for COVID Aid Grants has crashed.

In March 2020, the portal for EIDL (Economic Injury Disaster Loans) froze repeatedly and crashed under the weight of thousands of users. According to a report by SBA General Inspector Hannibal “Mike” Ware in October, the portal was closed for days after the personal information of more than 7,900 applicants was made available to other applicants who were using the website at the same time.

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James T. Madore writes on Long Island business news, including the economy, development, and the government-business relationship. He was previously head of the Albany office.