Saving Tennessee: Governor Lee Announces New Relief Program to Aid 28,000 Small Businesses

As our nation continues to grapple with unprecedented tragedy, unrest, and economic strife, Governor Bill Lee has announced a new relief program for Tennessee businesses impacted by COVID-19.

In a statement to the press on June 2, Lee said, “It seems every week brings a new challenge for us every year and that held true in this last week the profound protest of recent days gripped the nation and our attention my heart is with those who are hurting and with those who are bravely and peacefully speaking out against injustices in this country. Some have hijacked peaceful protest and I say this we will not tolerate violence against our people or property in Tennessee. Violence doesn’t represent our state it tears at the fabric of who we are and it prevents us from learning from one another.”

According to the Office of the Governor release, the Tennessee Business Relief Program will set aside $200 million in federal coronavirus relief funds through of Department of Revenue to small businesses that qualify.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created immense economic pain across our state and especially among small businesses that faced temporary closure. As we responsibly steward our federal stimulus money we have worked to quickly prioritize our small businesses and I thank the work of the Financial Stimulus Accountability Group for their partnership in this,” said Lee.

Which Businesses This Plan Will Help

Roughly 28,000 Tennessee businesses are expected to qualify, with more than 73% of those businesses earning annual gross sales of $500,000 or less.

The program will award based on the annual gross sales of the business. More details will be posted on the Department of Revenue’s website in the coming days.

The following types of small businesses are eligible under the program:

  • Barbershops
  • Beauty shops
  • Nail salons
  • Tattoo parlors, spas, and other personal care services
  • Gyms and fitness centers
  • Restaurants
  • Bars
  • Hotels and other travel accommodations
  • Theaters, auditoriums, performing arts centers and similar facilities
  • Museums, zoos, and other similar attractions
  • Amusement parks
  • Bowling centers and arcades
  • Marinas
  • Amusement, sports, and recreational industries
  • Promoters of performing arts, sports, and similar events
  • Agents and managers of artists, athletes, and entertainers
  • Independent artists, writers, and performers

In addition, the following small businesses are eligible if their sales were reduced by at least 25%, as shown on their April sales tax returns (filed in May):

  • Furniture stores
  • Home furnishing stores
  • Clothing stores
  • Shoe stores
  • Jewelry, luggage, and leather goods stores
  • Sporting goods, hobby, and musical instrument stores
  • Book stores
  • Department stores
  • Office supply, stationery, and gift stores
  • Used merchandise stores
  • Other miscellaneous stores

Small businesses are the heart of our cities, our culture, and our way of life across Tennessee.  While we are devastated that so many doors have already permanently closed, we are thankful that Tennessee is beginning to shift its focus to prioritize funds where they are critically needed to help save our state’s vital small business community.

As a small business, the Rocky McElhaney Law Firm dealt with many challenges throughout the crisis but because we were prepared technologically, and secure in our resources and client communications, we have been able to stay productive and continue fighting for our deserving clients who need a fair recovery, now more than ever.

If you or a loved one has been hurt because of a person or company’s negligence, please give us a call at 615-246-7040.  We fight for you!

And, if you have the opportunity and the finances to shop small and local over the big box stores and companies, we hope that you’ll do so to fight for them!