Money

Tennessee plans to use federal funds for coronavirus relief to issue payments to small businesses affected by the pandemic.

The Tennessee Business Relief Program will use $200 million reimburse some small businesses for costs incurred as a result of mandatory closures. The amount of the payments will be based on business’ annual sales.

Many types of businesses that were heavily impacted by the virus outbreak, such as hotels, bars, restaurants and gyms, will be eligible for the program. Many retail businesses, such as clothing store, book stores or sporting goods stores, could qualify if sales fell at least 25% in April.

In total, the state expects more than 28,000 businesses to qualify for a payment. About three quarters of those businesses are small, with less than $500,000 in annual sales.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created immense economic pain across our state and especially among small businesses that faced temporary closure,” Gov. Bill Lee said, according to a press release. “As we responsibly steward our federal stimulus money we have worked to quickly prioritize our small businesses.”

In a statement, Lt. Gov. Randy McNally said he hoped that the program would soon expand to include non-profits, trade groups and chambers of commerce.

The state announced the program on Tuesday, and plans to publish details about the amount and timing of payments in the next few days.

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