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Warner urges venue operators to apply for federal grant quickly as a possible

Senator Mark Warner met with venue operators in Hampton Roads, urging them to apply for a grant that's filling up quickly.

HAMPTON, Va. — People are looking forward to getting out and doing more activities with loosening restrictions. Some of those activities include places like entertainment venues.

On Thursday, Senator Mark Warner visited Hampton Roads to discuss how music venues and museums can open safely this summer. He met with several venue business owners from Hampton to Virginia Beach inside the American Theatre in Hampton. 

“We have 388 seats in the theater and for the last year, they have been empty," said American Theatre Artistic Director Richard Parison. 

Parison said the theater closed its doors in March of 2020. He's eager for performances and classes to start again.

“We’re excited to have our home school program and our education kids back in the dance studio," said Parison. 

Warner and the owners discussed how the Small Business Administration’s Shuttered Venue Operators Grant could help them get the funds they need. The program has more than $16 billion to divide across the country for business owners. The grant has four priority sections businesses can apply for.

“So this a more directed for venues, theatres, music spots," said Warner. 

Warner added that the money that's part of the venue's program will most likely end soon.

“My sense is we can see that, just on the shuttered venues. Again, there's so many numbers here that are like a $16.6 billion program; I think that money will run out in the next two to three weeks," said Warner. 

Parison said the City of Hampton has applied and hopes to get funds.

“It means that the entire country, the entire region will be blossoming and morale will continue to grow.”

Warner explained he’s going to back Washington and will try to request more funds.

“I’m going to continue -- particularly on the venues -- to see if I can fight for some more additional funds because they have really been shut out of the earlier rounds. We also have to realize I don’t think we will see another massive COVID relief bill because hopefully COVID's becoming behind us," said Warner. 

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