Longietti says liquor license waiver will help area bars and restaurants, but comprehensive relief package needed

HERMITAGE, Oct. 22 – A plan being finalized to waive liquor license fees for the state’s bars, clubs and restaurants should give these key local businesses more capital to navigate the tremendous financial challenges they face, but a comprehensive relief package is also needed as soon as possible, state Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, announced today.

“A plan to waive liquor license fees for the year ahead is a good start,” Longietti said. “A reprieve from fees means business owners will have extra capital to put to other pressing expenses, and any help right now is critically important.

“While a fee waiver will help, though, it isn’t going to be enough to save businesses that are teetering on the verge of collapse,” Longietti said. “Shutdowns and restrictions from the pandemic have already destroyed some of our beloved area bars and restaurants and pushed others so far into the red, they may not survive. They need major assistance now in the form a comprehensive relief package.

“The state still has more than $1 billion in CARES Act funding left, and a major priority should be to get part of that money into the hands of our local businesses. Their efforts have built our economy and enriched our community in a hundred different ways. Now, when time is of the essence, we have to get them a lifeline.”

Longietti was among 133 lawmakers who voted earlier this week to override the governor’s veto of H.B. 2513, which would have expanded capacity for restaurants and bars to a minimum of 50% and removed certain alcohol service restrictions. The override failed narrowly.

The fee waiver plan will still need to be approved by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, which is an independent agency. Once the plan is approved, it will waive standard liquor license fees for restaurants, clubs, bars and hotels beginning Jan. 1, 2021, and continuing through the end of the year.

It is estimated that the plan will bring $20 million in savings to Pennsylvania’s approximately 16,000 restaurants and bars, clubs and hotels.

Additional information about the plan is available
here.