License Commission Lowers Fees to Help Businesses During COVID

Some Revere businesses received a helping hand from the License Commission at last week’s meeting. Commissioners approved the elimination of some license fees altogether, while reducing other fees dramatically for businesses still struggling during the pandemic.

“Essential-service businesses like liquor and grocery stores did alright during the pandemic, but mom and pop stores, social clubs, and restaurants that had to close are still trying to recover,” Commissioner Linda Guinasso said.

Commissioner Daniel Occena agreed with Guinasso, but added, “We have to apply the reduction consistently.”

“There is no easy formula,” chairman Robert Selevitch noted.

Ward 2 Councillor Ira Novoselsky supported the move by the commissioners, pointing out that the two parking lots are being negatively impacted because many commuters are still working from home.  

Jeana Geary, owner of the parking lot on North Shore Road, noted that her lot has a capacity of 45 cars, but only about 10 spaces are being used on a regular basis at the present time. She noted that before the pandemic, the 45 spaces were all filled, but during this past spring and early summer, only five cars were in her lot on a daily basis.  

”But I am still surviving,” Geary told the commissioners. 

The commissioners noted that Geary’s license fee is $100 per space for 45 spaces, regardless of the use capacity.

Wendy Millar-Page of the Revere Chamber of Commerce stated that many businesses still are not open and the outlook looks bleak through the first quarter of 2021. 

“Anything you can do to help would be appreciated by the businesses,” Millar-Page added.

“We do not want to see any more businesses close due to the licensing fee,” said Guinasso. 

“We want everyone to succeed,” Selevitch added.

Commissioners noted that many of the businesses that had to be closed for months because they were not classified as essential businesses still paid the full license fee for the entire year.

Selevitich proposed the following new fees that will be charged to the businesses for 2021:

— All-alcohol licenses for clubs, bars, veteran clubs will have no fee;

— All on premise licenses for restaurants and/or common victualler will have no fee;

— All commercial parking will pay only 25% of their fee for 2020; and

— All Park and Fly lots will pay only 50% of their 2020 fee.

On the other hand, all other license fees for stores such as Market Basket or Stop and Shop will have to be paid in full in 2021.

Commissioners also approved the change of manager of an All-Alcohol Innholder license to David Hazboun, the owner at the restaurant in the Four Points by Sheraton.

Commissioners also approved to extend the outdoor seating regulation from November 1 to 60 days after the end of the state of emergency.  They also noted that tables and chairs will have to be removed in case of a snow storm, and that any outdoor heaters should be inspected by the Fire Department.

The next meeting of the commission is scheduled for November 18.

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