LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville Metro's Department of Codes and Regulations offered struggling small businesses a lifeline on Thursday by waiving 100% of the annual Alcohol and Beverage Control (ABC) license renewal fees for restaurants, bars, and all businesses with on-site, by-the-drink consumption.

What You Need To Know

  • Louisville Metro waived annual liquor license fees for restaurants, bars, and breweries

  • Henderson, Ky. Mayor Steve Austin also waived liquor license fees

  • Businesses with on-site consumption qualify for the waiver

  • Order does not apply to packaged alcohol licenses

The city of Henderson announced a similar order the same day. Henderson Mayor Steve Austin said he hopes the fee waiver will help prevent “any additional financial strain on these businesses."

“The City of Henderson recognizes the local impact on these businesses created by state and federal recommendations for social distancing, periodic closures of bars and restaurants and self-quarantining, all in an effort to prevent the spread of this devastating virus and curb the pandemic,” Austin said.

Mayor Greg Fischer (D) said the city is acting swiftly to help its struggling businesses, but more substantial help from Congress is needed.

“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 surviving the winter when the harshest impacts of the COVID-19 restrictions will be felt,” Fischer said.

Louisville announced in October that it would reduce the ABC renewal fee by 25%, but that has now changed to waive 100% of the fees.

Businesses with outstanding or upcoming fees will not be required to pay until 2021. Those who have already renewed their license will owe no renewal fees in 2021, and those who paid the reduced fee in October will get a 75% reduction on 2021 fees.

Metro Council indicated full and broad support for the relief, which will have a potential impact of $1.8 million across Metro’s FY21 and FY22 revenue estimates according to a press release from the mayor's office. Mary Ellen Wiederwohl, Chief of Louisville Forward, said the order will provide great relief to businesses struggling after being closed for indoor dining.

“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,” Wiederwohl said.

Bryce Shreve is a digital producer with Spectrum News 1 KY. He is a recent graduate of Indiana University Southeast and joined the staff in November, 2020.