Approximately $1.2 million in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds will be used to waive licensing fees for all Kent County restaurants in 2022-23.
There are 2,372 licensed food establishments in the county. Fees are determined by classification and type of operation.
Late last year, the county was awarded more than $127 million in ARP funds to support the continued response to and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Kent County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously on March 9 to approve the one-time waiver.
“We understand that restaurants are a major driver of our economy, and many establishments are still struggling to recover from the economic setbacks caused by the pandemic,” said Stan Stek, board chair. “We trust this fee waiver will provide much-needed support to keep these businesses going and ensure that they can continue to serve our community.”
Restaurants are required to submit a renewal application by April 30, which will ensure establishments remain licensed during the 2022-23 operating period. If an establishment does not intend to renew its license, the application still must be returned but include a signed note requesting its license be cancelled. Annual renewal applications will be mailed to food service establishments by March 11.
Restaurant representatives said they will take any help they can get.
“The restaurant business has always presented challenges, and the pandemic made everything even harder,” said Abby McClure, general manager at Walker Roadhouse. “We are grateful that our Kent County commissioners voted to use these funds to help alleviate some of the pandemic-related challenges we are still facing. We are very proud of the role that Walker Roadhouse plays in our community, and we look forward to being here for many years for our customers, family and friends.”
The Kent County Health Department handles all restaurant licensing.