Virus Outbreak Tennessee Reopens

Jamie Ferrell serves customers Monday, April 27, 2020, at Puckett's Grocery & Restaurant in Franklin, Tenn.

(The Center Square) – Tennessee’s Small Business Relief Program will expand to include more industries after a new allocation of $83.5 million for the program, Gov. Bill Lee and the Financial Stimulus Accountability Group announced Friday.

Additional relief will go to small businesses adversely effected or required to close because public health orders regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. The new funding comes in addition to the program’s $200 million initial allotment, funded with federal COVID-19 relief dollars.

“We’ve heard from many who were not on the original list of eligible businesses – like event and wedding planners, caterers, photographers, travel agents, tour bus operators, and others – and this relief will help them greatly,” Jim Brown, Tennessee state director for the National Federation of Independent Business, said in a statement. “These grants will help many bridge the gap to better times and, frankly, help many stay in business. Many more will need more federal and state support to survive the ongoing economic downturn.”

Businesses will be eligible for the program if they have less than $10 million in annual gross sales and are in an industry affected by executive orders in response to the pandemic. Relief payments will range from $2,500 to $30,000, depending on the business’ gross sales.

New categories of businesses eligible for the program include: caterers, wedding and event planners, convention and trade show organizers, photography studios, travel agencies, taxi, limousine and bus services, fine arts instruction schools, music production and sound recording studios, and others.

Businesses can check their eligibility on the Tennessee Department of Revenue website. Eligible businesses will be contacted by the department, and are required to certify their eligibility with the department in order to receive funds.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has placed enormous strain on businesses and industries of all types,” Lee said. “We’ll continue to distribute federal resources prudently to address the pressing needs of Tennessee businesses to get our economy back on track.”

Staff Reporter

Vivian Jones reports on Tennessee and South Carolina for The Center Square. Her writing has appeared in the Detroit News, The Hill, and publications of The Heartland Institute.