While a two to three thousand dollar license fee cut might not make or break Natick restaurants and clubs, the town’s Select Board voted unanimously to cut liquor license fees in half in an effort to support establishments beleaguered during the COVID-19 pandemic as we head into indoor dining season.
Board member Michael Hickey stated that despite the creativity exhibited by local restaurants in terms of outdoor dining expansions and investments in tents and heat lamps, that he’s very concerned about their outlook: “We’ve got a tough patch ahead.” If nothing else, he said, the fee cuts show “moral support,” and who knows, maybe could help save a part-time job or two.
The town has taken a number of steps this year to help Natick businesses during the pandemic, from helping restaurants offer expanded outdoor dining to offering a microenterprise grant program to very small businesses.
In slashing liquor license fees, which must be renewed annually, Natick follows in the path of other communities, including Needham, that have also cut fees in half for what are known as S12 establishments, which also includes hotels and venues such as TCAN. The cuts will not extend to businesses such as package stores.
The cuts are estimated to cost the town $65K in revenue, and Natick decided not to raise any other fees in light of the current economy.