PLCB waives $27.7M in ’21 license fees for bars, restaurants hurt by pandemic

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FILE – In this June 22, 2020, file photo, a bartender pours a beer for a customer at Shade Bar NYC in New York. Authorities are closing honky tonks, bars and other drinking establishments in some parts of the U.S. to stem the surge of COVID-19 infections — a move backed by sound science about risk factors that go beyond wearing or not wearing masks. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) — The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board approved, by a vote of 2-1, the forgiveness of an estimated $27.7 million in license fees in 2021 for retail licensees most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

License and permit fees being waived for these retail licensees next year include the following, which vary from $30 to $700 per fee: filing fee, license fee, renewal fee, validation fee, renewal/validation surcharge, amusement permit fee, Sunday sales permit fee, and extended hours food license fee.

Safekeeping extension fees, which start at $5,000 or $10,000 per year depending on the county where a license is located and allow a license to preserve an inactive license beyond two years, will also be waived in 2021. While these license fees will be waived through 2021, licensees will still be required to timely file validation and renewal applications to keep licensees current and to avoid late-filing fees.

“Following the Governor’s request last week to waive license fees and provide some relief to struggling businesses, the PLCB did its due diligence in evaluating our authority to waive fees authorized by various state laws, as well as the fiscal impact of doing so,” said Board Chairman Tim Holden. “We believe it’s the right thing to do in support of our restaurants, bars, and gathering places, so we’re glad next year to ease the financial burden to some extent for these local businesses.”

License fees that will continue to be collected in 2021 include, for example, those associated with wine expanded permit applications and renewals, direct wine shipper licenses, change of ownership and/or location of a license, application fees for new licenses, fees associated with a licensee’s change of officers/managers and extension of licensed premises. Manufacturers, beer distributors and transporters for hire – businesses less impacted by COVID-19 restrictions, will be required to pay license fees in 2021.

Licensees are encouraged to review the PLCB’s revised Advisory Notice 27 for details on the fee waivers.

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