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Local restaurants, bars hoping for relief on liquor license

Posted at 5:36 PM, Dec 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-18 17:36:52-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — During the pandemic, bars and restaurants like Mr. Goodbar in Buffalo have had to keep renewing liquor licenses, even though they’re in an Orange Zone and shut down to customers.

"You're paying for a service and a revenue that you are not making," Bobby Rabb, owner of Mr. Goodbar said.

It's a difficult pill to swallow, especially with the price attached.

"It can be $3,500 for each licensee," Cory Muscato, President of the NYS Distillers Guild and partner at Lockhouse Distillery said, "especially if the bar or restaurant isn't open or being utilized, it can be helpful to abate or stretch that."

According to the New York State Restaurant Association, a recent survey of restaurants found 64% are in danger of closing by the end of the year. Alcoholic beverages make up roughly 20% of a restaurant's profits. It's something that State Senator Tim Kennedy is working to help.

"To slash the liquor license fee in half," (D) State Senator Tim Kennedy said, "sometimes it's a two year license and these run into the thousands of dollars we want to make sure we provide relief for these businesses."

Senator Kennedy has sent a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo, calling on the state to cut the fees in half.

"A very simple way to provide relief for these restaurants and bars."

It's financial relief that could help the suppliers and bars/restaurants.

"Any help we can get to help us all get through this I'm incredibly supportive of," Rabb said.

The hope is that Governor Cuomo would use an executive order to get the fees reduced immediately, if that does not happen Senator Kennedy says he will back a bill that will be presented when the legislature goes back into session mid-January.