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Congressman Gonzalez Urges SBA to Fix Shuttered Venue Operator Grant Portal

April 21, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15) and 163 bipartisan and bicameral signatories sent a letter to Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Isabella Guzman, calling on the administration to fix the Shuttered Venue Operator Grant portal. When the website through which venues could apply for relief finally opened on April 8, it immediately crashed.

Congressman Gonzalez supported the Save Our Stages Act which was signed into law on December 27, 2020 promising $16 billion in relief to entertainment venues and businesses.

“These venues play a critical cultural and social role in our country,” said Congressman Gonzalez. “Preserving these businesses means preserving art, music, and a way of life. I’ve joined this bipartisan letter because I recognize that it’s long past time to give relief to these operators.”

"The Historic Cine El Rey Theatre is one of the longest running entertainment venues in America and is the only National Historical Landmark representative of Hispanic Culture in The United States that is still independently owned,” said Bert Guerra, Co-Owner of Cine El Rey. “Symbolically, it is "The Apollo" for the Hispanic Community in this region. While Cine El Rey has honored the government's COVID-19 restrictions in keeping people safe, we just want a fair chance to be able to keep our future safe - and that opportunity has just not been afforded to us yet."

The Members emphasized the urgent need for this website to be operational: “With each passing day, more independent businesses are forced to shutter permanently or file for bankruptcy. Landlords and banks are no longer permitting deferrals and are pressing for immediate payment of past due accounts; businesses are receiving eviction notices; mom-and-pop businesses are being forced to sell. The Administration’s announcement is critical to these businesses as they work to meet existing debt obligations during these unprecedented times.”

The letter and signatories are available here.