Carbajal Announces Over $27 million in COVID-19 Relief Dollars Approved for Local Venues to Save and Create Jobs

Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Carbajal announced 41 venues in CA-24 will receive a total of over $27.3 million in Shuttered Venue Operators Grants (SVOG). Congressman Carbajal voted to establish the program, which provides support to hard-hit businesses in the music and entertainment sector that were forced to shut their doors due to pandemic restrictions.

The SVOG program was initially plagued by technical challenges, which have since greatly improved. On the day the application portal opened, Congressman Carbajal held a press conference at the Santa Barbara Bowl to hear about how the program would benefit local venues and raise awareness of the new program. That same day, the program portal crashed and reopened almost 3 weeks later.

Carbajal took swift action to address the challenges businesses were experiencing and joined over 200 bipartisan Members of Congress in calling for the Small Business Administration to expedite the release of funds. This effort was successful, and the SBA has now approved 9,844 grants, including 1,393 in California and 41 on the Central Coast.

“The American Rescue Plan created the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program to provide critical funding to our struggling businesses and they deserve to be able to access those funds,” said Rep. Carbajal. “I am glad the Small Administration heeded our call to improve and expedite the approval process, so this critical aid for our businesses will arrive sooner. These local businesses not only create good jobs and contribute to our local economy but also contribute to the spirit and local culture of our community.”

See which Central Coast businesses have been approved for a SVOG award here. (Full SVOG awards data here.)


The Small Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program was established through the bipartisan COVID-19 relief package passed in December 2020. As a member of the Problem Solvers Caucus, Rep. Carbajal was part of the bipartisan coalition of lawmakers who crafted the bipartisan framework the relief package was built on. Rep. Carbajal helped secure additional funding for the SVOG program through the American Rescue Plan, to total over $16 billion in grants for shuttered venues in order to keep businesses afloat and workers on payroll.

The American Rescue Plan also instituted a fix to ensure shuttered venues that received Paycheck Protection Program loans after Dec. 27th 2020 can also receive a Small Venue Operators grant, as long as the grant is reduced by the amount of PPP funds provided. Applying for both grant programs was previously prohibited.

Rep. Salud Carbajal represents California’s 24th congressional district, encompassing Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and part of Ventura County. He sits on the House Armed Services Committee, Agriculture Committee, and Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where he serves as the Chair of the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation.


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