published on April 14, 2021 - 1:24 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

The Fresno County Department of Public Health is giving restaurant and bar owners a break on environmental health permit fees to help off-set losses brought on by the pandemic.

The Fresno County Board of Supervisors approved permit fee credits for restaurants with the capacity to seat people, according to a press release.

Restaurants must be able to demonstrate that they had to close in 2020.

For restaurants with a 50-person seating capacity or less, county officials estimate 989 restaurants will receive credits of $205. For restaurants with more than a 50-person seating capacity, official estimate 735 restaurants will receive fee credits of $272. Another 348 bars will receive a $303 credit.

“It was a great surprise when I opened my bill and saw a pretty drastic cut. It may not sound like a lot of money, but $700 can mean paying an employee for a week rather than laying them off,” said Chuck Van Fleet, the owner of Vino Grille & Spirit in Fresno, in a news release. “We’re trying to save on every expense, no matter how small to save jobs and keep our doors open.”

Restaurant owners in California have filed class-action lawsuits against the state of California as well as 12 counties — including Contra Costa, Santa Clara, Monterey, Sonoma, San Bernardino, Riverside, Placer, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Orange and San Diego counties.

Restaurant owners in Fresno County, the California Restaurant Association and attorneys for the plaintiffs reached an agreement with Fresno County officials before a lawsuit was filed, according to the release.

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