Harlem’s Espaillat Announces Millions In COVID-19 Relief Dollars Approved For Local Venues

July 29, 2021

Today, Representative Adriano Espaillat announced nearly 50 venues in his district will receive a total of over $8 million in Shuttered Venue Operators Grants (SVOG). Rep. Espaillat 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. Espaillat has held a series of virtual sessions supporting local venues, restaurants, and small businesses since the start of the pandemic to raise awareness of the new relief programs as they are announced by the Small Business Administration.

“The American Rescue Plan is essential for the recovery of our communities and reopening of businesses throughout my district and around the country,” said Rep. Espaillat. “It remains critical that we reaffirm our support of struggling businesses by making sure these programs and funding available to them are accessible for those who need emergency relief. I am pleased that the Small Business Administration (SBA) heeded our call to improve the Shuttered Venue Operators Grants program to help provide this aid and support for our businesses who need it the most — and need it now.”

See the full list of businesses that have been approved for a SVOG award here.


The Small Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program was established through the bipartisan COVID-19 relief package passed in December 2020.

Rep. Espaillat 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 the payroll.

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The American Rescue Plan also instituted a fix to ensure shuttered venues that received Paycheck Protection Program loans after December 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.

Representative Espaillat is the first Dominican American to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives and his congressional district includes Harlem, East Harlem, West Harlem, Hamilton Heights, Washington Heights, Inwood, Marble Hill, and the northwest Bronx.

First elected to Congress in 2016, Representative Espaillat is serving his third term in Congress. Representative Espaillat currently serves as a member of the influential U.S. House Committee on Appropriations responsible for funding the federal government’s vital activities.

He is also a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), where he serves as the Second Vice-Chair and is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, where he serves as Deputy Whip.

Representative Espaillat also currently serves as a Senior Whip of the Democratic Caucus. To find out more about Rep. Espaillat, visit online at https://espaillat.house.gov/.

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