Tax-free weekend at restaurants aims to help some hardest hit by COVID-19 pandemic

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE)– Tennessee’s second sales tax holiday weekend is underway, but it’s not for the usual back-to-school shopping.

This time around the sales tax free weekend applies to restaurants.

The Tennessee General Assembly passed two sales tax-free weekends to help Tennesseans save money and support the economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Normally in Knoxville a 9.25% sales tax — more with alcohol — is added to your restaurant tab.

Aaron Smith, general manager of Cazzy’s Corner Grill, said most customers won’t notice too much of a difference off their receipt, but the savings could be a decent amount on a larger bill.

Smith said he hopes the weekend will bring in more customers.

“It remains to be seen, but I’m cautiously optimistic. … I hope that it does drives some extra traffic in here which will help the staff, you know, make more tips,” Smith said.

One customer of Cazzy’s, Suzanne Coile, said ever since the pandemic, she has been tipping servers more to help them out.

Coile said that although she didn’t notice the fact there was no sales tax on her ticket, it does give her more money to tip servers.

“I think it is a wonderful thing. Restaurants have been so hard hit and I know that, and I am trying to eat out a bit more when I feel safe enough to do it. I always wear my masks and everything, and I think restaurants are trying hard to make you feel comfortable,” Coile said.

The sales tax holiday ends Sunday at 11:59 p.m.

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