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$16B in federal aid up for grabs for Hawaii’s live entertainment venues

Updated: Apr. 8, 2021 at 9:14 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A $16 billion grant program is aiming to help live venues negatively impacted by the pandemic.

The program is organized by the Small Business Administration. The acceptance period for applications begins Thursday.

Eligible businesses under the grant program include museums, performing arts centers, independent movie theaters, and other venues in the state that holds live events.

“This pandemic has been particularly brutal for businesses that depend on people being able to gather in person so this new funding will be a big help,” U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) said.

Some $2 billion dollars of the grant will be set aside specifically for small businesses with less than 50 full-time employees.

There is however one issue with the requirements that leaders are trying to work over: Businesses must have fixed audience seating in order to get funding. That requirement makes places like Iolani palace ineligible.

“With the fixed seating requirement, now Iolani Palace and other really venerable institutions are not eligible. So we’ve been trying to figure out a workaround. We have not found one yet,” Sen. Schatz told the Honolulu Star Advertiser.

Millions in the live entertainment industry have lost their jobs nationwide as live events have been called off as the pandemic drags on.

[Read more: Hawaii’s largest entertainment venues glow red for a reason]

To apply for federal assistance once applications open, click here for more information.

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