Feds send $7.5B in grants, incl. $229M in Pa., to arts venues hit by pandemic | Wednesday Coffee

The U.S. Small Business Administration sent the aid to help more than 10K arts and cultural businesses, venues, and nonprofits get back on track.

By: - July 28, 2021 7:07 am

MORRISON, COLORADO – JULY 22: Musician Yola opens for Orville Peck Summertime Tour at Red Rocks Amphitheatre on July 22, 2021 in Morrison, Colorado. (Photo by Tom Cooper/Getty Images)

Good Wednesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

The return of live music, theatre, and other cultural events have been one of the great joys of our vaccinated age. And the chances are good that if you haven’t taken in such an event yourself, then you’ve scrolled past the images of your friends enjoying themselves.

Entertainment venues such as night clubs and theatres, which are often run by small business owners and nonprofits, were among the hardest hit by pandemic-imposed shutdowns. And federal officials have been doling out aid for weeks, helping to get these important institutions back on their feet.

Through July 26, the U.S. Small Business Administration awarded $7.5 billion in Shuttered Venue Operators Grants, to more than 10,000 entertainment businesses, nonprofits and venues nationwide, according to newly released data.

All told, more than $229 million in assistance was channeled to Pennsylvania, the data shows.

“After making improvements to the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program, the SBA is now delivering money quickly, efficiently and fairly to highly-impacted small businesses and venue operators that are critical to America’s cultural fabric and local economies,” SBA Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman said in a statement.

(Source: U.S. Small Business Administration)

And while larger venues certainly benefited from the government’s largess, a closer look at the data reveals that operations with 10 or fewer employees (6,393) were the biggest beneficiaries of aid.

(Source: U.S. Small Business Administration)

Businesses and organizations that employed no more than 50 employees also received the bulk of the aid, with $4.31 billion in assistance being channeled to those employers, the data show.

“I plan to use these funds to invest in future shows and jumpstart my business, which in turn will put artists back on tour, bring revenue back to indoor and outdoor venues, put set-up and break-down crews back to work, bring customers back to the restaurants, retailers and food trucks surrounding venues… the list goes on and on,” Tyrus Joseforsky, the owner of indie concert and festival promoter Flight Levelz Entertainment in Hobart, Ind., said in a statement. “It’s a good thing for everyone.”   

The Pennsylvania Capitol building. (Capital-Star photo by Sarah Anne Hughes)

Our Stuff.
A Pennsylvania man with ties to state Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, is facing federal charges for allegedly assaulting police at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6Marley Parish reports.

Statewide shutdowns and stay-at-home orders helped health officials combat COVID-19, but the mitigation efforts caused another public health crisis — the opioid epidemic — to surgeMarley Parish also reports.

In new guidance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now says the vaccinated should wear masks indoors in areas with high infection ratesCapital-Star Washington Reporter Laura Olson writes.

With summer in full swing, senior Wolf administration officials are highlighting the importance of tick-borne illness awareness and prevention, our summer intern, Lindsay Weber, reports.

Housing policy experts have warned that the end of a federal moratorium this week likely will lead to a surge in eviction filings across the countryCapital-Star Washington Reporter Laura Olson has the story.

In Philadelphia, the city’s transgender and non-binary icons will be honored with new murals, our partners at the Philadelphia Gay News report.

On our Commentary Page this morning, frequent contributor Joseph Otis Minott, of Clean Air Council, says state regulators need to slow things down on the approval of a new pipeline in Clinton County. And state Reps. Donna Bullock and Danilo Burges, both Philadelphia Democrats, say small businesses are being left behind because of a budget-season decision to sit on $5 billion in federal COVID-19 assistance.

The Pennsylvania Judicial Center in Harrisburg (Capital-Star file)

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has adopted a new disciplinary rule aimed at fighting discriminatory and harassing speech, The Legal Intelligencer reports (registration required).

Craig Snyder, a GOP U.S. Senate candidate, is warning against ‘MAGA extremists in his campaign, the Inquirer reports.

Republican Senate hopefuls Jeff Bartos and Sean Parnell, meanwhile, are trying to out-Trump each otherCity & State PA reports.

Pennsylvania could soon feel the effects of the governor’s newly limited emergency authority, the Post-Gazette reports.

PennLive examines how the Trump/Biden split in the Keyestone State matches up with vaccination rates (paywall).

COVID-19 hospitalizations statewide have increased by 77 percent over the last two weeks. The 986 new cases logged Tuesday are the most since late May, LancasterOnline reports (paywall).

Pennsylvania nursing home workers have called off a one-day strikeUSA Today’s Pennsylvania Capital Bureau reports.

The Morning Call previews President Joe Biden’s visit to the Lehigh Valley this Wednesday morning (paywall).

Luzerne County Council has put off a vote on homestead exemption rebates for county property owners, the Citizens’ Voice reports (paywall).

In Bucks County, tensions are high over school COVID-19 safety plansWHYY-FM reports.

The state Department of Environmental Protection will propose limits on PFAS chemicals that it says balance cost and public health, StateImpact Pennsylvania reports.

The Observer-Reporter explains how local veterinarians have been impacted by the pandemic-inspired labor shortage.

In one of the first tests of his post-White House clout, a Trump-backed candidate has been defeated in a run-off for a Texas congressional seatRoll Call reports.

Here’s your #Pittsburgh Instagram of the Day:


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A post shared by Nathaniel Holzer (@than_takes_pics)

What Goes On
9:30 a.m., Chatham University, Gibsonia, Pa.: House Republican Policy Committee
10 a.m., G50 Irvis: House Environmental Resources & Energy Committee
10 a.m., Lancaster County Chamber of Commerce: Senate Community, Economic & Recreational Development Committee
3:30 p.m., Philadelphia City Hall: Acting DHS Secretary Meg SneadPhiladelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, and House Democratic Whip Jordan Harris, D-Philadelphia, tout the state’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

What Goes On (Nakedly Political Edition)
Fayette County Commissioner Vince Vicites holds a 6 p.m. reception at Christian W. Klay Winery in scenic Chalk Hill, Pa. Admission is a pricey, yet reasonable-for-a-fundraiser, $150.

Gov. Tom Wolf has no public schedule today.

You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept
Best wishes go out this morning to dulcet-toned WITF-FM morning guy, Tim Lambert, who completes another trip around the sun today. Congratulations, sir. Enjoy the day.

Heavy Rotation
Here’s a fantastic tune from indie poppers Winnetka Bowling League and Sasha Alex Sloan. It’s ‘Barcelona.’

Wednesday’s Gratuitous Baseball Link
After a three-game sweep of the NatsBaltimore returned to business as usual (sadly) on Tuesday, dropping a 7-3 decision to the Marlins.

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John L. Micek
John L. Micek

A 3-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning political reporter, Micek’s career has taken him from small town meetings and Chicago City Hall to Congress and the Pennsylvania Capitol. His weekly column on U.S. politics is syndicated to 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. He also contributes commentary and analysis to broadcast outlets in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Micek’s first novel, “Ordinary Angels,” was released in 2019 by Sunbury Press.