Louisville Metro waives annual ABC license renewal fees for restaurants, bars, other businesses with on-site consumption

December 03, 2020

Louisville Metro’s Department of Codes and Regulations today issued an updated order waiving 100 percent of the annual Alcohol and Beverage Control licenses (ABC) license renewal fees for restaurants, bars, breweries and other businesses with on-site, by-the-drink consumption. The order will not apply to packaged alcohol licenses.

In October, Louisville Metro announced that it would grant a one-time reduction of the annual ABC renewal fee by 25 percent for on-site, by-the-drink consumption businesses. However, the city will now waive 100 percent of that fee for those businesses, in addition to the previously announced waiver of its annual renewal fees for extended hour licenses.

“Louisville Metro is acting to support our food and beverage sector and reduce their burden in whatever ways we can, but we need action soon from the federal government to truly help these businesses survive the winter when the harshest impacts of the COVID-19 restrictions will be felt,” said Mayor Greg Fischer.

Metro Council have indicated its support for broadly this relief, which will have a potential impact of $1.8 million across Metro’s FY21 and FY22 revenue estimates.

“Fully waiving the renewal fees will bring us in line with recent state ABC action, while providing added relief for restaurants and bars, which are currently closed to indoor dining as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mary Ellen Wiederwohl, Chief of Louisville Forward. “Supporting our local businesses through this winter season will take not only action from the city but also participation from residents. Show your love for your favorite establishments by ordering take-out or buying gift cards.”

Licensees who have not paid renewal fees for 2020 will not be required to pay renewal fees until 2021. Businesses that have already renewed their annual license will not have to pay renewal fees in 2021, and those that paid the 25 percent reduced renewal fee in October or November following the initial order will receive a 75 percent reduction on their renewal fee in 2021. No refunds will be issued.

In Louisville, there are currently 916 establishments with licenses permitting on-site consumption, and of those, 429 also hold extended hours licenses. These businesses include restaurants, hotels, bars, breweries, convention centers and more.

This is the latest measure Louisville Metro Government has taken to help businesses during the pandemic. Louisville Forward has awarded $27.1 million in grants to 824 small businesses impacted by COVID-19 through the Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grants program and $1.7 million in loans to 43 small businesses through the low-interest Small Business COVID-19 Relief Loan program.

In August, the Office of Advanced Planning and Sustainability introduced a new opportunity for restaurants to offer temporary outdoor dining expansions through the utilization of on-street parking spaces. This followed action in May by Louisville Forward and Louisville Metro Council to allow restaurants to setup or expand outdoor seating on private property or in a parking lot without meeting certain planning and zoning requirements. Restaurants with valid ABC license also were allowed to serve alcohol outside in the expanded dining without obtaining additional permitting.

The Department of Public Works also temporarily suspended application fees for restaurants seeking an encroachment permit to add or expand their outdoor seating on public property, including sidewalks, and the city waived Tent Permit fees.

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