Ciresi proposes waiving restaurant license renewal fees

HARRISBURG, March 18 – Continuing his advocacy on behalf of Pennsylvania’s restaurant industry, state Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, recently introduced legislation to waive retail food facility license renewal fees for 2021.

The waiver would apply only to restaurants, bars, clubs, churches and fire halls with gross annual receipts under $25 million and that have lost more than 20% of their monthly sales during the declared disaster emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic. It would not include retail grocery stores, convenience stores, on-the-farm retail stores, farmers’ markets or farm stands. 

“The past year has been incredibly difficult for restaurants, and many are struggling to remain open,” said Ciresi. “Even as we approach a return to normal with targeted public health restrictions being relaxed and residents getting vaccinated, the industry still needs our help. With everything that our bars and restaurants went through over the past year, it should be common sense to not have them pay license renewal fees this year.

“Even with members of the community trying to support local restaurants through outdoor dining and takeout, many are still failing. Sadly, some will close permanently. Before it’s too late for those still struggling to stay afloat, restaurant owners and their employees need our help. That’s why I’ve constantly pushed for legislation to offer assistance, and why I’ve now introduced this bill, as well.”

The legislation was introduced as H.B. 840 and was assigned to the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee for further review. Ciresi previously introduced legislation to provide state grants to support bars and restaurants.

More information is available by contacting Ciresi’s office at 484-200-8265.