Hatfield waives fees for restaurants, bars in 2021

  • Keri Kelliher, manager and chef at Fishtales Bar and Grill in Hatfield, attaches lights to a fence while preparing a new outdoor dining area that can accommodate 65 people, Tuesday, June 30, 2020. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 10/13/2020 8:07:56 PM

HATFIELD — Fees for various alcohol and entertainment licenses used by restaurants, bars and clubs in Hatfield will be waived for the 2021 calendar year. 

Even though the town will lose an estimated $14,000 in revenue, based on projections by Town Administrator Marlene Michinski, the Select Board recently voted 3-0 that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic was a valid reason to not collect these fees when renewals are sought.

“We’re trying to support businesses we don’t want to lose,” said Chairwoman Diana Szynal.

Szynal said she hopes that this will be a “meaningful gesture,” adding that the businesses not only provide a service to the community, but employ friends and neighbors.

Places such as the American Legion and the Polish Club, along with Double B’s Bar and Grill and The Hatfield Pub, have not been able to be open since the pandemic started, while other restaurants have lost business.

Fees that won’t be collected include the $2,000 all-alcohol licenses for Double B’s, The Hatfield Pub, Grill ’n’ Chill, Fishtales Bar and Grill and The Waxwing, the $1,200 all-alcohol pub license for the Polish Club, the $500 all-alcohol veterans club for the Legion, and $100 entertainment and auto amusement licenses used by several of the businesses.

Board member Brian Moriarty said this would be the fairest way to help establishments and is not a big hit on the town’s $12 million budget.

“I think these businesses, even ones that are open, are struggling,” Moriarty said.

The concern is that as cold weather approaches, Fishtales, which has set up a tent on an outdoor patio, might not be able to function outside, while The Waxwing had just opened and is continuing to establish its customer base.

The waiver does not include common victualer licenses and other food handling permits, which are under the Board of Health’s purview.

In addition, the Select Board will continue to collect the annual license renewal fees from package stores and other businesses that sell wine, beer and spirits for off-site consumption, with an understanding that their sales have not been diminished during the pandemic.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.

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