OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Of all the businesses threatened by the COVID-19 outbreak, few have felt the impact as deeply as bars and restaurants.
Many of them are struggling to keep up with the bills after months of lock down and major events canceled in the Omaha metro-area.
In an effort to help find ways to make up loss revenue, owner of The Tavern - Pub and Market, David Kerr, pitched an idea to Mayor Jean Stothert.
“I reached out to the Mayor’s office to see if we could have a conversation about ways in which the city of Omaha could help small businesses in this difficult year,” Kerr said.
He says the City responded.
Stothert directed the Finance Department to waive late fees on restaurant tax payments from the beginning of March through the end of 2020.
“The only stipulation is that these bars and restaurants are current with the restaurant tax that they owe by the end of the year,” Stothert said. “By December 31, they need to be current.”
The City says the number of restaurants required to pay the tax is 2,300, adding only 154 are behind on the payment.
“Some restaurants are paying it, some don’t have the ability to pay it,” Stothert said.
According to the mayor, bars and restaurants that have already paid the fee will have their accounts credited.
Kerr says he anticipates these efforts will help struggling businesses.
“I hope this helps to foster open communication between city government and the small business sector here in Omaha,” Kerr said.
The City says they have collected about $80,000 in late fees since the pandemic hit, adding all of that will be given back to those businesses.