Congress Passes $900 Billion Pandemic Relief Package, Including $15 Billion Save Our Stages Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 30, 2020

CONTACT: Johanna Tschebull

On December 21, the U.S. Congress passed one of the largest pieces of legislation in history (5,593 pages) to fund the federal government for the remainder of FY2021 ($1.4 trillion) and to provide more pandemic relief to businesses, nonprofit organizations, states, local governments, schools, families, and individuals ($900 billion). The President signed the bill into law on December 27. The pandemic relief package extends many of the relief programs and incentives established under the CARES Act passed in March and specifically provides for the following: 

Aid to Small Businesses - $325 billion, including $284 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program
Extends the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to March 31, 2021 and provides $284.45 billion for a “second draw” of forgivable loans for smaller and harder-hit businesses, with a maximum amount of $2 million.

Eligibility

  • To receive a Paycheck Protection Program loan under this section, eligible entities must: 
    • Employ not more than 300 employees;
    • Have used or will use the full amount of their first PPP; and
    • Demonstrate at least a 25 percent reduction in gross receipts in the first, second, or third quarter of 2020 relative to the same 2019 quarter. Provides applicable timelines for businesses that were not in operation in Q1, Q2, Q3, and Q4 of 2019. Applications submitted on or after January 1, 2021 are eligible to utilize the gross receipts from the fourth quarter of 2020.
  • Eligible entities must be businesses, certain non-profit organizations, housing cooperatives, veterans’ organizations, tribal businesses, self-employed individuals, sole proprietors, independent contractors, and small agricultural co-operatives.
  • Prohibits eligible entities that receive a grant from Save Our Stages grant program from obtaining a PPP loan at the time of the bill’s passage.

 Loan Terms 

  • Borrowers may receive a loan amount of up to 2.5 times the average monthly payroll costs in the one year prior to the loan or the calendar year. No loan can be greater than $2 million.
  • Seasonal employers may calculate their maximum loan amount based on a 12-week period beginning February 15, 2019 through February 15, 2020.
  • New entities may receive loans of up to 2.5X the sum of their average monthly payroll costs.
  • Businesses with multiple locations that are eligible entities under the initial PPP requirements may employ not more than 300 employees per physical location.
  • An eligible entity may only receive one PPP second draw loan.
  • Fees are waived for both borrowers and lenders to encourage participation.
  • For loans of not more than $150,000, the entity may submit a certification attesting that the entity meets the revenue loss requirements on or before the date the entity submits their loan forgiveness application and non-profit and veterans’ organizations may utilize gross receipts to calculate their revenue loss standard.

Loan Forgiveness 

  • Borrowers of a PPP second draw loan would be eligible for loan forgiveness equal to the sum of their payroll costs, as well as covered mortgage, rent, and utility payments, covered operations expenditures, covered property damage costs, covered supplier costs, and covered worker protection expenditures incurred during the covered period.
  • The 60/40 cost allocation between payroll and nonpayroll costs to receive full forgiveness will continue to apply.
  • The prior requirement that borrowers deduct an Economic Injury Disaster Loan amount from their forgivable PPP loan is repealed.
  • The bill requires the Small Business Administration to establish a streamlined loan forgiveness process for borrowers with loans $150,000 or less.

Save Our Stages Grant Program - $15 Billion
The bill establishes a $15 billion grant program to be administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA) to support “shuttered venue operators”, including “live performing arts organization operators”. The SBA will establish rules to implement the program within 10 days after the bill is signed into law.

Eligibility 

  • “Live performing arts organization operators” are defined as an individual or entity, for-profit and nonprofit, that “as a principal business activity, organizes, promotes, produces, manages, or hosts live concerts, comedy shows, theatrical productions, other events by performing artists.”
  • Applicants must demonstrate a minimum 25% decline in gross earned revenue in one calendar quarter of 2020, compared to the same quarter in 2019, to qualify to apply.
  • Applicants should have no less than 70% of earned revenue related to a live event generated through ticket sales, production fees or reimbursements, nonprofit education initiatives, sale of event beverages, food, or merchandise.
  • An applicant can have secured a PPP forgivable loan from the CARES Act, but now must choose whether to seek an SOS grant or apply for a second PPP loan after the new bill is signed into law.

 Grant amounts 

  • Applicants will calculate their grant amount based on 45% of an entity’s earned revenue in 2019.
  • Total grants received by an eligible entity are capped at $10 million per recipient.
  • After receiving an initial grant, qualifying applicants that are experiencing a 70% revenue decline as of April 1, 2021 can receive a supplemental grant equal to half of their initial grant award.
  • Supplemental grant awards will only be awarded after applications received in the first 60 days of the program have been processed.

 Eligible Costs 

  • Grants may be used for costs incurred from March 1, 2020 through December 31, 2021 (and supplemental grants may be used from March 1, 2020 to June 30, 2022).
  • Allowable expenses include payroll, including payments to independent contractors; rent; fixed costs like mortgage and debt payments; as well as maintenance expenses, administrative costs, and other expenses.

Priority Periods and Non-Priority Reserve 

  • $2 billion of overall funding will be reserved for grants to entities with 50 or fewer employees, using a full-time equivalent calculation.
  • The first 14 days will limit access to applicants that demonstrate a revenue decline of 90% or more from April 1 to December 31, 2020, compared to the same time period in 2019.
  • The second 14 days will be limited to those with a revenue decline of 70% or more.
  • Relief funds already accessed through the CARES act will not count as revenue for this calculation, and seasonal organizations will use an alternate time period for the comparison.
  • 20% of funds will be reserved for availability after the conclusion of the priority period.

Certification 

  • Eligible applicants must submit a good faith certification that “the uncertainty of current economic conditions makes necessary the grant to support the ongoing operations,” and certain applicants must abide by requirements that the recipient “will not abrogate existing collective bargaining agreements” and “will remain neutral in any union organizing effort.”

Other Pandemic Relief 

  • Federal Unemployment Benefits - $120 billion: This bill provides an additional $300 per week for all workers receiving unemployment benefits, through March 14, 2021. This bill also extends the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, with expanded coverage to the self-employed, gig workers, and others in nontraditional employment, and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program, which provides additional weeks of federally-funded unemployment benefits to individuals who exhaust their regular state benefits. Additionally, the bill increases the maximum number of weeks an individual may claim benefits through regular state unemployment plus the PEUC program, or through the PUA program, to 50 weeks. The bill also provides an extra benefit of $100 per week for certain workers who have both wage and self-employment income, but whose base UI benefit calculation does not take their self-employment into account. 
  • Direct Payments: $166 billion: Provides another round of Economic Impact Payments of $600 for individuals making up to $75,000 per year and $1,200 for couples making up to $150,000 per year, as well as a $600 payment for each child dependent. 
  • Vaccines, Testing, and Tracing Efforts - $69 billion: Provides $20 billion for the vaccine procurement and distribution, nearly $9 billion to the Centers for Disease and Prevention and states for vaccine distribution and more than $3 billion for the strategic national stockpile. This includes $300 million specifically directed to high risk and underserved areas for distribution, including communities of color. The bill provides more than $22 billion, all sent directly to states, for testing, tracing and COVID mitigation programs. Of this total, $2.5 billion will be sent out as grants specifically targeted at needs in underserved areas, including both communities of color and rural communities. The bill provides $4.5 billion in mental health funding, $9 billion in support for health care providers, and more than $1 billion for National Institutes of Health to conduct research and more than $1 billion in direct funds to the Indian Health Service. 
  • Extension of the Employee Retention tax Credit: Extends the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) through July 1, 2021 and significantly expands the credit from 50% to 70% of qualified wages. The value of the credit will increase from up to $10,000 in wages/year to $10,000 in wages/quarter per employee for the first two quarters of 2021, amounting to up to $14,000 in refundable payroll tax credits per employee. Employers that receive Paycheck Protection Program loans will qualify for the ERTC for wages that are not paid for with a forgivable PPP loan. 
  • Charitable Giving Incentives: Extends and expands the universal charitable deduction for non-itemizers that was created under the CARES Act to apply throughout the 2021 tax year - $300 for individual filers and $600 for joint filers that were limited to a $300 deduction in 2020 for cash contributions in 2021. Also extended through 2021, the limitation on the percentage of Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) eligible for the charitable deduction has been lifted for those that itemize their tax returns, and the limit on deductions for corporate contributions is raised to 25% of taxable income. 
  • Relief for Self-Insuring Nonprofits for Unemployment Purposes: Many nonprofit organizations self-insure unemployment benefits rather than pay state unemployment taxes. Nonprofit liability was reduced by 50% under the CARES Act, and this form of relief is now extended through March 14, 2021.
  • Paid Sick and Family Leave: The refundable payroll tax credits for paid sick and family leave that were established in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, are extended through March 31, 2021.
  • Education Funding: The bill provides an $82 billion Education Stabilization Fund to support the educational needs of States, school districts, and institutions of higher education and the students they serve in response to coronavirus.
  • Broadband Funding: $7 billion for broadband, including funding for low-income families unable to afford internet access, $1 billion for broadband on tribal lands, and $300 million for rural broadband deployment.
  • Rental Assistance: $25 billion for emergency federal rental assistance program to be distributed by state and local governments for those families struggling to pay rent and may have past due rent. Assistance can be used for past rent payments, future rent payments, and utility bills. Extends the existing CDC eviction moratorium through January 31, 2021.

FY2021 Omnibus Appropriations
The FY2021 omnibus appropriations bill provides $167.5 million each to the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, a $5.25 million increase than FY2020 enacted levels. The bill permits grant funds appropriated this year and in FY2019 and FY2020 to be used for operating expenses. The bill provides $475 million for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), in 2023 advance funding, an increase of $10 million above FY2020 enacted level. The bill includes $20 million for the interconnection system and system wide infrastructure, the same as the FY2020 enacted level. The bill provides funding for the U.S. Department of Education’s Arts in Education program fund at $30.5 million.

Please note that this is not an all-inclusive list of programs and provisions included in the entire package that provides FY2021 omnibus appropriations and additional pandemic relief. Dance/USA will continue to provide further detailed information over the coming days and weeks as various federal agencies implement programs. Further inquiries can be directed to Tony Shivers, Dance/USA Director of Government Affairs. Learn more about Dance/USA advocacy here.

About Dance/USA
Propelled by our belief that dance can inspire a more just and humane world, Dance/USA will amplify the power of dance to inform and inspire a nation where creativity and the field thrive.

Established in 1982, Dance/USA champions an inclusive and equitable dance field by leading, convening, advocating, and supporting individuals and organizations.  Dance/USA’s core programs are focused in the areas of engagement, advocacy, research, and preservation. Learn more about Dance/USA at danceusa.org