NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Small businesses say more federal relief will mean a lot to keep them fighting back from the COVID-19 pandemic but owners say they hope the money goes to those who need it the most.
Governor Bill Lee is planning to administer $44.6 million worth of new federal assistance to business owners. He proposed the increase this week to the state’s Financial Accountability Stimulus Group.
The panel is proposing an increase in payouts for businesses to help cover their losses due to the pandemic.
Business owner Tramaine Crook says he hopes to benefit from the relief payments. Crook owns Punches n’ Bunches Boxing Studio in Nashville.
"That’s a part of being a fighter, a boxer we learn how to function through pain, stress, all types of factions in the ring or outside the ring to help us push through," Crook said.
The former boxer says he has taken some blows and knows what it's like to have his back against the ropes. Crook says the pandemic was his biggest fight.
"Before we got to actually hit our peak the pandemic hit us, and we pretty much had to close shop," said Crook.
When COVID-19 hit, Crook knew he was in for a heck of a match, he says he was determined to win.
"As a business owner, I just crossed over what I learned as an athlete and applied it to my business. That’s why we’re standing strong today. "
Crook says he lost 50% of his client base when the pandemic hit. He credits virtual, at-home and outdoor classes kept him in the ring and kept him fighting for his business.
Like many others, Crook says he applied for government relief but got denied because his gym is still new. He says small businesses still need help.
"Not just our business but any business in any field, there definitely needs to be some type of relief to keep them afloat," Crook said.
The state panel is proposing to lift the cap on payments per business from $30,000 to $100,000, saying more than 1,100 businesses showed that they lost more than $30,000 during the pandemic.
The move to increase relief for businesses comes with some controversy as the state begins cutting off extra unemployment payments through federal pandemic aid starting July 3.
Crook says he just hopes he's on the receiving end of some relief soon so this fighter can stay on his feet.