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Here’s how Utah’s struggling live-event businesses can get $3 million in grants

Deadline for arts and sports businesses to apply is Thursday at noon.

(Beau Pearson | courtesy of Ballet West) Artist Olivia Gusti and first soloist Tyler Gum (foreground) rehearse, in socially distanced conditions, for Ballet West's season opener, "Nine Sinatra Stories."

Utah is offering $3 million in grants to help live event businesses, everything ranging from ballets to concert halls to arenas.

Applications to the COVID-19 Live Events Grant program, which is managed by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, open Tuesday morning and close Thursday at noon. To be eligible, businesses must be “substantially involved” in promoting arts, sports or similar events and have lost money due to the pandemic.

Businesses that have seen a 50% decline in revenue can receive either $150,000, or 75% of their lost revenue. They will get whichever amount is lower. Businesses that have lost at least 25% of their revenue can get the lesser of $100,000 or 50% of their lost revenue. Businesses with revenue declines under 25% are eligible for the lesser of $50,000 or 25% of the lost revenue. Grants will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis until the $3 million is gone.

Other eligibility requirements include having employees located physically in Utah, having fewer than 250 Utah employees and showing that the use of the funds will benefit Utah’s economy. The grant money needs to be spent by Dec. 30.

The pandemic has forced most arts and cultural venues to close. Many groups, including Odyssey Dance Theatre and the Utah Symphony, are putting on virtual holiday shows instead of live ones this year. The Sundance Film Festival will be mostly online this year as well.

Kelly Petersen, a co-owner of The Royal in Salt Lake City, said any help is appreciated and desperately needed.

“We’re dying out here,” she said.

Petersen said The Royal used to have live music five days a week featuring both local and touring bands. With reduced capacity for customers and few bands available to play, Petersen said revenue has been down about 75% since the pandemic hit.

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