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Blaisdell Center Receives $3M Federal Shuttered Venue Operators Grant

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The Neal S. Blaisdell Center has received just over $3 million from the federal Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program to recoup lost revenue caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The SVOG program, run by the U.S. Small Business Administration, opened for applications in early April and has awarded $7.6 billion of its allotted $16 billion, as of Monday. Eligible applicants were able to qualify for federal grants equal to 45% of their gross earned revenue for 2019.

The Blaisdell Center, which is operated by the City and County of Honolulu, shut down in March 2020 and suffered substantial revenue losses, the city said.

The city's Department of Enterprise Services said it applied for funds to replace lost revenues and help the 57-year-old venue recover. The department oversees the Blaisdell Center and the Waikiki Shell, among others.

Since March 2020, the Blaisdell Center has been host to COVID-19 surge testing, farmers markets, a city call center, a contact tracing hub and mass vaccination clinics. It also transformed the exhibition hall and arena into a television studio and soundstage — reportedly for the upcoming Amazon Prime Video series "I Know What You Did Last Summer."

“It has been a very difficult time for all, so we are very fortunate and pleased to receive the SVOG award to support our recovery as we emerge from this pandemic,” Mayor Rick Blangiardi said.

SVOG funds will be used to address the Blaisdell Center’s health and safety needs, facility repairs and improvements, equipment upgrades and operational cost recovery, the city said.

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