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Gov. Tom Wolf to waive liquor license fees to offer restaurants COVID-19 relief

Less than a week after Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed a bill that would have eased COVID-19 mitigation restrictions at the state’s restaurants, he is offering a financial olive branch to the hard-hit industry.

Today he announced a plan to waive liquor license fees to provide some financial relief to bars and restaurants.

Wolf said as the state enters the anticipated fall resurgence of COVID-19 cases – the state health department reported 2,063 additional positive cases on Thursday — the very contagious nature of this virus makes gathering indoors publicly at full capacity dangerous, making easing restrictions dangerous.

“Still, we know that restaurant and bar owners in Pennsylvania are committed to keeping their employees and customers safe and the vast majority of these businesses have followed safety precautions and invested in new procedures and supplies, but COVID continues to hurt this industry,” Gov. Wolf said. “Eliminating liquor license fees is an important step toward helping bars and restaurants retain the capital they need to weather the storm of COVID-19.”

Wolf said the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board will waive standard licensing fees through 2021 starting Jan. 1.

With the waiver, more than 16,000 Pennsylvania restaurants and bars, clubs, catering clubs and hotels would see $20 million in relief, according to Wolf.

Writer Stacy Wescoe has her finger on the pulse of the business community in the Greater Lehigh Valley and keeps you up-to-date with technology and trends, plus what coworkers and competitors are talking about around the water cooler — and on social media. She can be reached at swescoe@bridgetowermedia.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 4104. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

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