Pennsylvania liquor license fees to be waived for restaurants and bars

Gov. Tom Wolf: “My administration continues to look for innovative ways that we can support the bar and restaurant industry."

The Wolf administration says it will waive liquor license fees for restaurants, bars, clubs and hotels next year in an effort to provide financial relief amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Governor Tom Wolf made the announcement Thursday at the LeMont restaurant in Pittsburgh.

“As we enter the anticipated fall resurgence of COVID-19 cases, the very contagious nature of this virus makes gathering indoors publicly at full capacity 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.

The governor said he's working with the state Liquor Control Board to waive the standard licensing fees starting in January of 2021.

According to the governor, over 16,000 restaurants and bars throughout the state would see $20 million in relief.

“My administration continues to look for innovative ways that we can support the bar and restaurant industry. 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.”

In addition to the move to waive the liquor license fees, the governor renewed his push for additional funds to be released by lawmakers. "I have repeatedly called for congress to act on the restaurants bill, which is $120 billion effort to support the restaurants industry."

Many restaurants and bars were forced to modify their business operations or close earlier this year due to mitigation restrictions. While some restrictions have eased up, operating a full capacity is still not yet an option.