Bottoms suspends late fees for alcohol license renewals in Atlanta

Atlanta bars and restaurants that missed the Dec. 31 deadline to renew their 2021 alcohol licenses will not immediately face late fees.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued an administrative order suspending penalties for late license renewals, her office announced Monday.

Alcohol license renewals are normally due by the end of the year. Annual alcohol fees can run as high as $5,000, plus a $150 renewal fee, according to the Atlanta Police Department. If a business does not renew by Dec. 31, they can be subject to fines or the suspension of their license.

But the COVID-19 pandemic has caused financial hardships for businesses across the city, especially bars, clubs and restaurants that are getting less business than normal. Bottoms’ order is “designed to help mitigate the financial impact and hardships caused by COVID-19 on Atlanta businesses,” her office said.

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During Monday’s City Council meeting, Councilwoman Natalyn Archibong introduced legislation that she said was similar to Bottoms’ order — a sign of the “all-hands-on deck” nature of the issue, she said. Archibong said her ordinance is related to relief for struggling bars and restaurants and could serve as the “legislative piece” to follow Bottoms’ order.

Across the metro, cities and counties like Atlanta have worked to provide some assistance to restaurants that are trying to get by while sales are down and rents and utility bills pile up during the pandemic.