Gov. Tom Wolf announced on Thursday his intention to work with the state Liquor Control Board to have all licensing fees waived for restaurants, bars and hotels for the coming year to help the hard-hit hospitality industry deal with the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Wolf said he feels confident that the board will approve the measure at its upcoming board meeting.
He said waiving the regular liquor licensing fees will free up capital for bars and restaurants, which would help them to survive the remainder of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It would remove the burden from restaurant owners during this difficult time,” Wolf said.
If approved by the board, Wolf said waiving the fees would save bars, restaurants and hotels about $20 million over the course of a year.
“The restaurant industry needs concrete help, not smoke and mirrors,” Wolf said, “and that's what this is.”
Wolf said in addition, he hopes to gain bipartisan support in allocating the state's $1.3 billion remaining in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funds to help the hospitality and other industries.
The CARES funds must be allocated by Dec. 31.
This is a breaking news report — read more about Wolf's plan in Friday's Butler Eagle.