Governor Bill Lee and other legislative leaders gathered today at Nashville meat-and-three staple Arnold’s Country Kitchen to announce the Tennessee Small Business Relief Fund, which will provide financial relief for small businesses across the state — including those who didn’t receive PPP assistance.
The governor says they’ve set aside $200 million in federal relief from the CARES Act to help over 28,000 businesses just like Arnold’s throughout the Volunteer State, including manyminority-owned businesses. The relief fund aims to help reimburse costs incurred during the safer-at-home order and help with those suffering significant revenue drops in April.
The Tennessee Business Relief Program amounts awarded will be based on the annual gross sales of a business. Of the roughly 28,000 Tennessee businesses are expected to qualify, over 73 percent of those businesses earn annual gross sales of $500,000 or less. The funds will be allocated to places promoting the TN pledge and safety during COVID-19, to ensure they have the opportunity to remain open and not be taken out as a result of the devastating pandemic. More details about the program will be posted on the Department of Revenue’s website in the next few days.
Governor Lee reminded viewers that yesterday, June 1, was Tennessee Statehood Day — celebrating 224 years as a state — and said that this challenging year provides Tennesseans another opportunity to serve as a compass for a nation in need. “Despite the many trials I’ve seen come our way this year, Tennesseans reject weariness and accept their neighbors, through natural disaster and ongoing pandemic. Every week seems to bring us a new challenge,” he said.
The mayor went on to praise the peaceful demonstration that occurred on the steps of the Tennessee Capitol building last night — and the law enforcement, Nation Guard, and media involved.
“The enduring quality of Tennessee is found in her people. Tennesseans are a thick and thin sort of people. No pandemic, no natural disaster, and no disruption is going to hurt that — the heart of our state and our people is enduring.”
Lee then thanked Rose Arnold for opening the doors of the meat-and-three for the press conference, and said he couldn’t wait to get a slice of that peach pie.