Statement: Governor’s Fee-Waiving-Industry-Help Needs To Go Further
The following is a statement from Chuck Moran, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association, concerning today’s announcement from Governor Wolf in support of waiving standard licensing fees.
Today, Governor Tom Wolf announced his support to waive “standard” 2021 licensing fees for taverns and licensed restaurants.
Earlier this year, the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association stated that a comprehensive package would be needed to bail out the industry and save jobs – including ALL licensing fees. We certainly hope that the Governor means ALL fees liquor license holders pay in his definition of “standard” including but not limited to off-premise catering, Sunday permits, and small games of chance.
While licensing fee help is part of the solution, much more needs to be done, particularly considering the size of the industry and its role in the Pennsylvania economy.
We would have liked to have seen a comprehensive package promoted by the governor.
Using the Governor’s own COVID-19 statistics for October 4 through 10, out of 2,820 contact tracing reports only 69 indicated they were at a bar during the 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms. That’s around 2 percent. His data shows that 484 individuals had visited any type of business including bars and restaurants, salons, and fitness centers. That’s about 17 percent, meaning 83 percent did not visit any type of business. That 83 percent is where the Governor should be looking to address if the Commonwealth really wants to contain a fall surge.
It is counter-productive to set up a system to protect people from COVID-19 if the system being built drives people to unsafe locations. Because of current orders, Pennsylvanians are flocking to private parties with a false sense of safety because they are amongst people they know. But no CDC guidelines are followed at those locations and those attending face increased risk.
None-the-less, since our industry will continue to be targeted causing businesses to close and jobs lost, the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association would encourage the Governor to piece together a more thorough package to include the following in addition to only waiving 2021 licensing fees:
- Eliminate all licensing fees for taverns and restaurants for two years including 2020 in addition to 2021
- Industry-specific grants, not loans
- Provide a higher industry discount when purchasing liquor
- Provide industry-specific tax relief
- Allow bar tops to be used for customer seating providing appropriate COVID-19 safety measures are taken.
- Allow taverns and restaurants to continue serving alcohol until midnight to accommodate shift workers
- Allow non-continuous outdoor seating following COVID-19 safety measures
- Eliminate the requirement that food must be purchased with any adult beverage
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About the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association
The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association is a statewide association based in Harrisburg, representing small business taverns and licensed restaurants in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Association formed in 1941, reorganized in 2019, and today advocates for best practices and rights within the industry as well as best experiences for patrons.
Members of the working media interested in this story may contact PLBTA Media Relations at (717) 232-8671