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Gov. Lee expands small business relief program, new programs announced for agriculture and tourism

Caterers, wedding planners, photography studios and music production businesses are just a few of the new small businesses eligible for the relief program.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — More small businesses will be eligible for Tennessee's Small Business Relief Program Friday after Governor Bill Lee announced an expansion of the program. Agriculture and tourism businesses will also be eligible for support under new programs.

Businesses that have less than $10 million in annual gross sales and are in an industry impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic are eligible for the relief program. On Friday, officials announced they would expand the original list of businesses eligible for support to include new business, listed below:

  • Caterers, Mobile Food Services, and Food Service Contractors
  • Wedding and Event Planners
  • Convention and Trade Show Organizers
  • Wedding and Banquet Hall and Similar Property Rental
  • Linen Supply Services
  • Photography Studios
  • Travel Agencies and Travel Arrangement Services
  • Car, Truck, Trailer, and RV Rental
  • Sightseeing and Tour Operators
  • Taxi, Limousine, Bus, and Other Transportation Services
  • Recreational Vehicle and Vacation Camps
  • Sports and Recreation Instruction
  • Fine Arts Instruction, Exam Prep, Driving Schools, and Other Similar Instruction
  • Motion Picture and Video Production and Distribution Services
  • Music Production, Distribution, and Publishing Services
  • Sound Recording Studios

Retail businesses that experienced a 25 percent reduction in taxable sales are also eligible for the relief program, as shown in their April sales tax returns filed in May. More business were also added to that list Friday:

  • Florists
  • Party and Banquet Equipment and Other Supply Rental
  • Formal Wear and Costume Rental
  • Consumer Electronics and Appliances Rental
  • General Rental Centers and Other Consumer Goods Rental
  • Gasoline Stations and Convenience Stores
  • Warehouse Clubs and General Merchandise Stores
  • Home Centers, Hardware Stores, and Paint Stores
  • Household Appliance and Electronics Stores
  • Nurseries, Garden Centers, and Outdoor Power Equipment Stores
  • Pharmacies and Drug Stores
  • Optical Goods Stores
  • Cosmetics, Beauty Supply, and Perfume Stores
  • Supermarkets and Other Grocery Stores
  • Baked Goods and Other Specialty Food Stores
  • Beer, Wine, and Liquor Stores
  • Food Supplement Stores
  • Vending Machine Operators
  • New and Used Car Dealers
  • Recreational Vehicle, Boat, and Other Vehicle Dealers
  • Automotive Parts and Accessories Stores
  • Tire Dealers
  • Online Stores (selling from a Tennessee location)
  • Other Direct Selling Establishments

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture also announced they will create a $50 million economic support program for agricultural and forestry businesses. The program is meant to help ensure the stability of the food supply chain, according to a release from officials.

The department will accept applications for funding between Aug. 17 - Aug. 31. They said they will make grant awards the week of Sept. 14.

Another support program was also announced Friday, to support Tennessee's tourism industry. The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development will use $25 million to remarket the tourism industry, with $15 million directly designated for destination marketing organizations in all counties.

Officials also announced $9.5 million to help the state's workforce development programs. They said $2 million will go to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development's Virtual American Jobs Center, to help participants find jobs.