BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Struggling concert venues across the country still have not received the billions of dollars in federal aid that was part of the coronavirus relief package signed into law in December.

Some venue owners say they can’t hold much longer.

READ MORE: The Fight For Cruelty-Free Cosmetics: Maryland Will Be 5th State To Ban Testing Makeup On Animals

“It’s been harrowing, to say the least,” Tecla Tesnau, the Owner of Ottobar, said.

Many venues haven’t had any revenue and can’t turn a profit with reduced capacity restrictions in place in Maryland.

“So many [venues] held on, waiting for this relief, but several hundred had no choice but to shutter forever,” Audrey Fix Schafer, a board member and spokesperson for the National Independent Venue Association, said.


The $16 billion shuttered venue operators grant was supposed to be open to applicants last Thursday, but technical glitches closed the site and not a single application went through.

Now, it’s stalled indefinitely, putting venues in a very tough spot.

READ MORE: Johns Hopkins University Helping India Fight Covid Surge

“That’s the reason why I put together a GoFundMe,” Tesnau said. “There was absolutely no help in any sort of timely fashion.”

Tesnau started the GoFundMe in the fall and raised over $145,000 to keep her establishment from closing.

She later received city and state aid, but she like so many other venue owners, still need federal aid while they try to wait out the pandemic.

“It’s a difficult situation to see something you’ve worked so hard for have the potential to close utterly,” Tesnau said.

The Small Business Administration says they’re still working to determine an exact date for the reopening of the application for this grant.

The Ottobar is currently open, but there is no live music just yet. They’re planning and hoping for that to start in September.

MORE NEWS: Driver Sought In Fatal Hit-And-Run Crash That Killed Lakisha Furnanders

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Stetson Miller