As COVID-19 restrictions continue to put additional burdens on local restaurant and bar owners, the Will County Board voted to amend its liquor license ordinance to extend the renewal fee due dates to March 1, 2021 and September 1, 2021. The current deadlines for renewal fees are January 1 and July 1. This change only applies to liquor licenses issued in the unincorporated areas of Will County.
“We want to provide some temporary relief to local bar and restaurant owners who have facing tremendous hardship due to statewide COVID-19 mitigation efforts,” said Will County Executive Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, who also serves as the county’s liquor commissioner. “Many of these establishments have been able to implement carry out service but without dine-in customers, their profit margins have been greatly reduced. Some are on the verge of closing their doors for good.”
The Will County voted at a special meeting, held on Dec. 22, to extend this payment period. County Board Speaker Mimi Cowan acknowledged small business is the backbone of the local economy and it is important to show the county’s support.
“We all know this past year has been very tough on our local small businesses and our County Board continues to look for any way we can be supportive of those businesses,” said Speaker Mimi Cowan. “I am glad that we were able to get this done.”
Prices for annual liquor licenses are based upon the type and size of the establishment. For example, Class B liquor licenses authorize the sale and consumption of liquor on the premises of a restaurant or bar that serves both food and liquor. Class GC licenses authorize the sale and consumption of liquor during a specified period for a special event. An annual liquor license ranges from $50 to $2,500, based upon the type of license required.
“This additional cost can be cumbersome for our local merchants who are desperately trying to stay in business and keep their employees working,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “We hope deferring this fee will provide some respite for these hardworking business owners.”
“Our local restaurants and bars support our communities with the food and jobs that they provide,” said Majority Leader Meta Muller. “We are committed to doing what we can as local government to help ease their burden during this time of crisis.”
“Today’s action at our special board meeting offers relief to our local business while not placing a larger burden on our taxpayers,” said Minority Leader Mike Fricilone. “Will County government continues our efforts to be fiscally responsible while still offering services to our residents and local businesses. By delaying the penalties for payment of fees, we are offering support to our business community.”