Merski, Bizzarro Harkins: Liquor license fee waiver will help area bars, restaurants

Additional help needed in form of comprehensive relief package

ERIE, Oct. 22 – A state plan in the works to waive liquor license fees for Pennsylvania’s struggling bars, restaurants and clubs during 2021 will bring an important measure of relief for these critical local businesses, state Reps. Ryan Bizzarro, Bob Merski and Pat Harkins, all D-Erie, announced today.

The lawmakers said the administration’s plan – which is awaiting final approval from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board – would allow local restaurant and bar owners retain the critical capital they need to stay afloat.

“Months of operating under pandemic restrictions have exacted a devastating toll on our area’s family restaurants, bars and clubs, and some creative solutions were definitely needed to help them survive,” Merski said. “Last week, I joined several colleagues in asking the governor to work out a fee waiver plan.

“Although it’s not a cure-all for the huge financial challenges that lay ahead and a restaurant relief package is needed as soon as possible, the waiver will help these local mom-and-pop businesses that are so very important to our local economy, and any relief we can provide now is a good thing.”


Bizzarro said, “I am happy to see progress being made to support the service industry. These savings will provide great relief to the local restaurants, bars and clubs that have served as a backdrop for many of life’s moments. They are so much more than a place where we grab a meal or a drink and I will continue to support their survival through this pandemic.”

Harkins said, “These have been excruciatingly difficult times for restaurant and bar owners, which continue to face an uncertain economic life in the months ahead. The administration’s move to waive liquor license fees is a good start, and it’s something we can do now to bring some relief to these critical businesses.

“With more than $1 billion in CARES Act funding left, I plan to work with my colleagues to get a comprehensive restaurant relief package passed. But we need to do it soon. Time is of the essence when the survival of these businesses is hanging in the balance.”

Once approved by the PLCB, the plan will waive standard license fees for restaurants, clubs, bars and hotels beginning Jan. 1 and continuing through the end of the year. It is estimated it would bring $20 million in savings to the state’s approximately 16,000 restaurants and bars, clubs and hotels.

Additional information about the waiver plan is available