Business Oregon Launches COVID Recovery Grant Program for Small, Independent Oregon Movie Theatres
Business Oregon is receiving American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to exclusively support small, independent community movie theaters that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. If eligibility criteria is met, grants can go up to $40,000 per theater location, with $5 million in total allocated to the program. Grant funding can be used to cover expenses such as payroll, mortgage, rent, and other operating costs as a result of the public health emergency and measures taken to contain the spread of the virus.
Small and independent community movie theaters are defined as movie theaters locally owned and operated independent of national chains. The theater must be an indoor movie theater whose primary operation is the regular exhibition of motion pictures to the general public, typically for a fee. Theaters with multiple screens are eligible for additional funding above the standard $40,000 grant. Business Oregon will adjust additional per-screen award amounts to ensure all eligible theaters are treated equitably. Applicants must be able to demonstrate via their tax returns a minimum of 20% loss of revenue for the calendar year 2020 for each theater for which they are applying.
The grant may be used to cover operating costs during recovery from business closures due to the pandemic including:
- Payroll and benefits costs
- Costs to retain employees
- Mortgage, rent, or utilities costs
- Other operating costs
Grants can also cover costs incurred to implement COVID-19 prevention or mitigation measures such as:
- Physical plant changes to enable social distancing
- Enhanced cleaning efforts
- Barriers or partitions
- COVID-19 vaccination, testing, or contact tracing programs
- Costs for technical assistance, counseling, or other services to assist with business planning needs
Recipients may accept ARPA funding from other sources in addition to this program. However, ARPA funds cannot be used to “double dip” to essentially fund the same activity. The funding period is restricted by federal law to necessary expenditures incurred due to the COVID-19 public health emergency after March 3, 2021. Expenditures made prior to March 3, 2021 are not eligible to receive support through this program.
Applications will be available online beginning at 8 a.m. on Monday, January 24 at oregon.gov/biz. All applications for funding must be received no later than 11:59 p.m. on 02/09/2022. The majority of funds are expected to be distributed by April 2022.
At the time of the application deadline, all applicants must:
- Have an active organization registration for the theater operation with the state of Oregon’s Secretary of State;
- Provide theater services that take place within the state of Oregon;
- Be headquartered in Oregon, meaning having a centralized office location where a company’s management and key staff operate and oversee overall business activities;
- Have proof of economic loss for the theater due to COVID-19 (through tax returns or signed Profit and Loss Statements); and
- Show the theater has been in operation for a minimum of one year prior to March 3, 2020.
Submitted applications will be reviewed for eligibility, completeness, and accuracy. Applications that meet stated program eligibility and need requirements will be authorized for funding, pending availability of funds. Business Oregon may require additional information and has final authority on eligibility determination.
This grant program is the first of three grants Business Oregon is creating with new ARPA funds to help arts and culture venues and supporting industries. The two additional phases will assist live venues and businesses that support live events. These programs will be announced and launched soon after the completion of the movie theater grant program.
This announcement was originally posted on https://www.oregon.gov/biz/programs/ARPA_Movie_Theaters/Pages/default.aspx.