Business · California

Under pressure from restaurants for COVID shutdowns, Calif. waives liquor license fees

Nearly 59,000 businesses throughout the state are currently eligible to have their liquor license renewal fees waived.

This comes after Gov. Gavin Newsom passed a $7.6 billion coronavirus relief package last month.

For many owners, this means saving hundreds of dollars.

Lincoln Pub and Grub Owner Aaron Gossett says it means an extra $2,000 he can put towards other expenses.

“Every little bit helps,” he said. “Whether it be $5,000 from Fresno, $15,000 from the state of California, if you keep adding it up, it keeps us open for one more month.”

According to the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, only certain liquor licenses are eligible for this help.

To qualify, the license being renewed must have been active between March 1 and December 31 of last year.

Their license must also expire between this month and February of 2023.

Van Fleet says this help should have come much sooner.

“It’s an extra thousand bucks that I could have been paying employees and trying to keep people,” he said.

Van Fleet says many liquor license owners were preparing to file a lawsuit against the state — since they had to pay their full renewal fees, without getting full use out of their licenses during the pandemic.

“I think they heard that and they took a good listen to it, and they decided they needed to take action on it,” he said.

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Staff reports from The San Joaquin Valley Sun staff.