BOSTON (SHNS) – A state lawmaker from Ipswich is proposing to waive caterers’ annual license fees for 2021, pitching it as a way to buoy an industry that took a severe blow from the COVID-19 pandemic and gathering restrictions.
Rep. Brad Hill’s bill (H 386) calls for federal coronavirus relief funds to be used to reimburse any caterer who has already paid this year’s fee to the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission.
Under state law, catering businesses need to be licensed to sell and serve alcoholic beverages, and those licenses are subject to an annual fee of $1,500. Hill, the House’s first assistant minority leader, told the Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee Monday that caterers were not able to work when wedding venues were closed, but still had to pay their fees when they “weren’t allowed to go and do their job.”
Noting that the year is already half over, he told the committee he would be willing to sit down and discuss a way “to see if we could give them some type of relief moving forward, and just for that period that they lost.” “I hope you can support the bill and if we can’t support the bill in this committee, maybe as we’re debating what to do with the financial bills from the federal government, you will stand with me and we can put some language in that bill,” he said. “Either way, I’m happy if we can give some relief to them, because the businesses I have around me are very small.”