New Jersey COVID-19 Business Information

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What COVID-19 relief resources are available for performance venues?

Updated:
July 16, 2021

Applications Coming Soon

The New Jersey Community Stage Relief Grant Program is a grant program that provides grants up to $300,000 to for-profit establishments that organize, promote, produce, manage, or host live events or performances by performing artists.

Applications for the New Jersey Community Stage Relief Grant Program are not yet open. The NJEDA will make an announcement when applications open. Continue to check this page for updates.

Eligibility

The New Jersey Community Stage Relief Grant Program is only open to New Jersey for-profit arts and culture venues or businesses that produce, organize or direct live music or performances.

A separate program for nonprofit establishments is being administered by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

Baseline Eligibility

All applicants must meet one of the two baseline eligibility criteria.

Establishments that have one of the following NAICS codes are eligible for grants as long as they meet the establishment venue capacity criteria and other statutory requirements for eligibility listed below.

  • 711410 - Agents and Managers for Artists, Athletes, Entertainers, and Other Public Figures
  • 711310 - Promoters of Performing Arts, Sports, and Similar Events with Facilities
  • 711320 - Promoters of Performing Arts, Sports, and Similar Events without Facilities
  • 711110 - Theater Companies and Dinner Theaters
  • 711130 - Musical Groups and Artists

Establishments that do not fall into one of the above NAICS codes are eligible if 50% or more of their business operating revenue involves the organization, hosting, promotion, production, or management of live music or performances. These establishments will also need to meet the establishment venue capacity criteria and other statutory requirements for eligibility listed below.

All applicants must meet the Venue Capacity eligibility criteria. Only establishments with a venue capacity of 2,500 or less are eligible for grants. Applicants that do not rent or own a venue must certify they do not own or lease a space.

All establishments must be in good standing with the New Jersey Department of Treasury-Division of Taxation, New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (LWD), and the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) (if the applicant is regulated by the ABC) at the time of application to be eligible for the grant funding.

Additional Eligibility Criteria

Establishments that meet one of the two baseline eligibility criteria outlined above must also meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • 25% or Greater Operating Loss Between Q2 2019 and Q2 2020 – Applicants will be required to report operating revenue specific to the applying arts and culture establishment on a quarterly basis over calendar years 2019 and 2020. Applicants whose self-reported operating revenue numbers demonstrate a 25 percent or greater loss will be asked to provide 2019 and 2020 business income tax filings specific to the applying establishment. Applicants that do not have 2019 and 2020 business income tax filings specific to the establishment for which the applicant is seeking grant funds will be asked to provide quarterly income and expense statements for all quarters of 2019 and 2020 with a breakdown substantiating the operating revenue numbers specific to the arts and culture establishment. Examples of documentation that would fulfill this requirement include management prepared financial reports, financial reports generated by an accounting system or software package, or financial reports prepared by a third-party (CPA, accountant, or bookkeeper). The self-reported revenue statements must be certified by an owner, officer, or an authorized representative of the organization.
  • At Least Two Live Performances Per Week –Applicants will need to provide documentation demonstrating the establishment has organized, promoted, produced, managed, or hosted at least two live performances or events per week across any three-month (quarterly) period beginning no later than January 1, 2019, through the date of application. Examples of documentation include live event calendars, public advertisements of live events, evidence of ticket sales for live events, ledgers, income statements, box office reports and other documents showing show dates, artists or events, ticket prices, and number of tickets sold, marketing or promotional materials, or any other documentation sufficiently demonstrating  bi-weekly live events were supported over a three-month period.
  • Event Admission Fees – Applicants will need to provide documentation demonstrating the collection of admission fees for each event that is part of the three-month reporting period. Examples of documentation include reports provided by a third-party ticket seller or payment processor, copies of receipts or tickets/ticket stubs sold at an event, in house administrative documentation, marketing materials, and third-party media demonstrating a fee for admission was collected for live events reported during the three-month sample period.
  • Artist Payment for Events – Applicants will need to provide documentation evidencing mutual agreements between four different artists or their representatives and the applying establishment or host venue that clearly demonstrates the performing artist was paid based on a percentage of sales, a guaranteed payment, a contract or other mutually beneficial formal arrangement, or the sale of tickets for which performers are paid based on a percentage of ticket sales. Examples of documentation include a contract executed by both the performing artist and the applicant establishment/hosting venue that clearly stipulates the basis by which the performing artist is paid, or written or electronic copies of agreements such as copies of emails, electronic messages, and dated text messages if it is clear that the compensation was mutually agreed upon and is consistent with program requirements.
  • Duplication of Benefits – All applicants will be required to fill out an affidavit identifying all funding sources the applicant entity has received related to COVID-19, including insurance, Small Business Administration loans and grants, Shuttered Venues grants, forgivable portions of Payroll Protection loans, and Economic Injury Disaster grants.

Executive Certification

In addition to meeting the above program eligibility requirements, as part of the application the chief executive officer or equivalent officer of the applicant establishment must self- certify that:

  • The applicant establishment was in operation on or before February 15, 2020.
  • The applicant establishment will make a best effort not to furlough or lay off any individuals from the time of application through six months after the end of the declared state of emergency. Arts and Culture Organizations that have already furloughed or laid off workers from the time of application must make a best-effort pledge to re-hire those workers as soon as possible.
  • Grant funds will be used to replace revenue lost as a result of a business interruption caused by COVID-19 between March 1,2020, and the date of the grant agreement.

Awards

The New Jersey Community Stage Relief Grant Program will provide grants up to $300,000.

Establishments will receive grants of up to 30% of their decline in operating revenue from 2019 to 2020, up to a maximum grant award of $300,000.

The total grant amount cannot exceed the establishment’s unmet need based on duplication of benefits analysis.

Application Process

Applications for the New Jersey Community Stage Relief Grant Program are not yet open. When they open, applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, based on the date and time at which the Authority receives the application. Only applications that are fully complete will be considered for funding.

In the event that an application is missing information, applicants will be given five (5) business days to correct or preserve their application by providing missing documentation. Applicants who fail to provide the requested application information will be rejected on the basis of insufficient or incomplete documentation.

Given the volume of applications the Authority expects to receive, only applicants that meet the eligibility criteria outlined above will advance to a manual review of documentation by Authority staff. Applicants with greater than 2,500 capacity will not proceed.

Furthermore, 33% of total funding available for the program will be set aside to support establishments that have a commercial business address in a census tract that was eligible to be selected as a New Jersey Opportunity Zone. Setting aside a portion of available funding under the New Jersey Community Stage Relief Grant Program to support establishments in these census tracts further reinforces the State’s commitment to helping to ensure all Opportunity Zone eligible tracts in New Jersey receive opportunities for investment that are equitable and inclusive.

Source:

NJEDA