Bar owners can postpone ABC fees under new law signed by Cooper

Published 12:27 pm Sunday, February 28, 2021

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North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper signed a bill on Thursday allowing bar owners whose businesses were limited or shut down by COVID-19 restrictions to defer permitting fees to the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission until they are allowed to fully resume operations.

The new law that was introduced by House Republicans and unanimously approved by state lawmakers also allows ABC permittees whose operations were limited by Cooper’s executive orders to request a refund for any fees they paid during the 2020-21 permit year.

Payment deferrals on registrations and renewals will remain in place until Cooper’s directives limiting operations expire or are rescinded. Once the restrictions are lifted, owners would have 90 days to pay the fees. House Bill 4 requires bar owners to notify the commission of their intent to postpone payments.

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“The pandemic has hit bar owners hard, and this bill offers needed relief from the burden of fees as they work to keep their businesses afloat and create more jobs,” Cooper said in a statement.

For the first time since early in the pandemic, bars and taverns may offer indoor service, which started Friday. An executive order released by Cooper Wednesday lets those businesses operate at 30% capacity up to 250 people.