Lee announces $200M relief program for businesses affected by shutdown order

Gov. Bill Lee, left, announces a $200 million relief program for businesses affected by the state’s stay-at-home order for non-essential businesses at Arnold’s restaurant in Nashville on June 2, 2020. To his right are House Speaker Cameron Sexton, Senate Speaker Randy McNally, Rep. Pat Marsh, and Rep. Harold Love. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Gov. Bill Lee has announced the state will spend $200 million of federal coronavirus relief funds to small companies affected by the state order to close nonessential businesses in an effort to stem the spread of the pandemic.

Here’s the release from the governor’s office:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, House Speaker Cameron Sexton, and the Financial Stimulus Accountability Group announced a new relief program for Tennessee businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Tennessee Business Relief Program will direct approximately $200 million in federal Coronavirus Relief Funds through the Department of Revenue directly 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,” said Gov. Lee. “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.”

The Tennessee Business Relief Program amounts awarded will be 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.

“While the COVID-19 crisis started as a public health crisis, the economic crisis it triggered is in some ways even more devastating. The burden the virus has placed on small businesses has been substantial,” said Lt. Gov. McNally (R-Oak Ridge). “Jobs have been lost. Savings accounts have been drained. Credit has been stretched. Small businesses need this relief more than anyone. I was proud to be a part of formulating this plan along with my fellow Financial Accountability group members, particularly Sen. Bo Watson and Sen. Raumesh Akbari. I am hopeful this program will soon be expanded to include non-profits, trade groups and chambers of commerce. These organizations are critical to our economic revival and I look forward to seeing them included in the next phase. Our recovery from this economic disruption will be a slow process. But without small business, it doesn’t happen at all. I am grateful for this opportunity to put our most at-risk businesses on a path to stability and prosperity.”

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.

“Our small businesses drive our local and statewide economies, and their success is critical to our continued, swift economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville). “I am pleased to join with Rep. Marsh, Rep. Love and members of the Financial Accountability Group to support all those businesses who have been adversely affected by these extraordinary circumstances through this program so they remain successful.”

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

  • Barber shops
  • 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

The Financial Stimulus Accountability Group includes Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, Speaker Cameron Sexton, Comptroller Justin Wilson, Sen. Ramesh Akbari, Sen. Bo Watson, Rep. Harold Love and Rep. Pat Marsh.

9 Responses to Lee announces $200M relief program for businesses affected by shutdown order

  • This is awesome! I want to tweet your story so the business owners who need to know will be able to sign up. Is there a link for folks to go and sign up?

  • James White says:

    If Governor Bill Lee did NOT act like a Tyrant, then we would not be Paying Taxpayers money save #LeeTheTyrant’s bacon.

  • Beatrice Shaw says:

    What about money to individuals who are affected? We need relief also This Gov is becoming more and more disappointing

    • Cannoneer2 says:

      Remember our state’s motto: “Of the Businesswhiners, by the Businesswhiners and for the Businesswhiners”.

  • Karen Bracken says:

    Great, more waste of tax payer money for something that should have never happened in the first place. Lee should have talked with the other state Governors who put the work into keeping their people safe but did not follow like stupid sheep to slaughter like Lee did. This was a fake PANDEMIC and the moment that news came out he should have opened the entire state. We are still not fully open and this is totally uncalled for. The UK downgraded this fraud to a yearly flu on March 19, 2020. If I know that how come our brain trust Gov. Lee and our legislators don’t know that? What are you going to do? Shut down the state every year when the flu hits. Flu hits, people die that is life. Perhaps our elected should spend their time passing a law to shut down EVERY BSL3 ‘& 4 lab in the US and defund all of these gained function labs in other countries that we currently fund. These man made viruses make Gates and Fauci and their big pharma whores very wealthy. They patent these made man viruses then sell the “cure.”

    • MARLE says:

      So you’d think our President, the self-proclaimed smartest man in the room, wouldn’t have fallen for this. Without his turning the economy over to the virus (or the wrong headed MODELS of the virus) none of this spending would have been necessary

  • Cannoneer2 says:

    Oh, and echoing James, Fix the roads!

  • Trump is keeping America Great!

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