Continuing its efforts to support Needham’s local restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic, Needham’s Select Board voted July 21 evening to cut in half the annual liquor license fees for restaurants, hotels and clubs in Needham in 2021.
“As the pandemic continues and our restaurants and small businesses work hard to survive, the Town is seeking ways in which we can support our local economy,” said Select Board member Marianne Cooley. “Helping restaurants reduce their costs is one simple thing we can do to ensure they remain a vibrant part of our community.”
“Given what our industry has been going through, the vote from the Select Board last night is a game changer," said Paul Turano, Chef/Owner of Cook Restaurant. “As we approach the Fall with such uncertainty, renewal costs are a major concern. Needham’s willingness to work with its restaurants could be the difference between us staying open, or many closing their doors.”
“We’re grateful for the Select Board’s help,” said Stuart Henry, owner of The James Pub & Provisions. “It’s going to be a long haul to get back to normal and anything like this helps.”
The new license fees, which take effect January 1, 2020, are as follows:
On Premise Alcoholic Beverage
Innholders – reduce to $4,525 $2,262 (from $4,525)
Restaurants – 100 seats or more – All Alcoholic $2,012 (from $4,025)
Restaurants – fewer than 100 seats - Wine /Malt $750 (from $1,500)
Clubs - $255 (from $510)
In April, Needham’s Board of Health gave Tim McDonald, the town’s director of Health and Human Services, discretion to also reduce the permit fees for food service establishments if the COVID-19 pandemic is still impacting businesses.
The permits run Jan. 1 – Dec. 31, so they have not been reduced yet. But it's likely that the food establishment permits will be reduced by 25 to 50 percent.
The town has also worked with local restaurants to create expanded or new outdoor patio seating. The Town also placed picnic tables on Town property to encourage residents to enjoy their takeout food and beverages outdoors and eliminated parking meter fees for the summer. The Town is continuing to work with restaurants and other small businesses to find way to continue to support them.