By New York State Senator Joseph A. Griffo, R-Rome, 47th District

There is no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic has had a disastrous effect on restaurants, bars and other venues throughout New York State. During this challenging time, it is important that we continue to consider and examine all options that are available to help our struggling small business owners.

One such option is legislation (S8452) that I have introduced along with Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon, D-Marcy, that would provide the State Liquor Authority (SLA) with the necessary statutory authority to provide a credit on liquor license renewals for bars and restaurants reflecting the amount of time for which they were shut down due to COVID-19. The loss of business, due to the government’s response to the pandemic, necessitates that New York, in particular the SLA, should provide a credit to these small business owners on their next liquor license.

The bill is currently in the Senate’s Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business Committee and in the Assembly’s Economic Development Committee.

In a recent letter to the SLA Chairman Vincent G. Bradley, I urged the SLA to offer license holders the option to either be repaid an amount equivalent to the duration of the state’s mandatory closure or reduce by the duration of the shutdown the costs attributed to any license renewal, whichever option the license holder chooses.

These establishments applied for a license, complied with state regulations and paid fees associated with their establishment’s licensure with the understanding that they would be able to run their businesses as intended. As a result of the inability to conduct business accordingly, they should be compensated for the hardship imposed on them by government actions.

Restaurants, bars, banquet halls and other venues are an important segment of our state’s economy. New York State, including the SLA must do all that it can to provide relief to these businesses so that they can eventually operate and be successful.

I will continue to advocate for this legislation and on the behalf of the small businesses throughout the state who are facing significant financial difficulties and uncertainties as a result of the current public health crisis.

Lockwood Law

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