February 10th, 2021
Hon. Dorothy Sheppard, Minister of Health
P.O. Box 5100
Hon. Ted Flemming, Minister of Justice and Public Safety
Chancery Place, 2nd Floor
P.O. Box 6000
Via email: Dorothy.firstname.lastname@example.org
Via email: email@example.com
Re: 2021 Food Services and Liquor Licensing Fees
Dear Ministers Sheppard and Flemming:
I am writing you today on behalf of our members in the food service industry that require food premises licenses or liquor control licenses to operate their businesses. As you are aware, restaurants have been amongst the hardest hit businesses throughout the pandemic – here in New Brunswick and across the world. Governments have reacted in various ways to support businesses and economies – through both direct financial aid as well as policy decisions and regulatory adjustments.
We are nearing the one-year mark of government restrictions aimed at reducing the positive cases of COVID-19 in New Brunswick. Despite recent, by any metric, our province and your government have been very successful in your efforts to keep New Brunswickers safe. We, of course, support these efforts but they do not come without a cost.
Our local restaurants are in trouble. Government restrictions and related changes to individual’s behaviour have some of our member restaurants down 85% of their year-over-year revenue. Most are hanging on, but just barely and as the timelines for getting to a stage where we “live with COVID” in the Green Phase of the NB Recovery Plan vary from six months to a year, some won’t make it to the other side.
Early in the year is typically the worst time for restaurants – with or without a pandemic – and now the renewal date for food service and liquor licenses are quickly approaching.
We are asking that your departments to provide one-time relief to current food premise and liquor license holders and waive renewal fees for 2021-2022. This would not only inject much needed cash into the hardest-hit businesses, but also demonstrate that your government understands the long-term effects of the pandemic and that you are listening to their concerns.
Thank you for considering this request and please contact me at any time should you have questions or require further clarification.
David Duplisea, CEO
Saint John Region Chamber of Commerce
cc: Hon. Arlene Dunn, Minister Responsible, Economic Development and Small Business; Opportunities New Brunswick
cc: Luc Erjavec, VP Atlantic, Restaurants Canada
cc: Carol Alderice, President and CEOP, Tourism Industry Association of New Brunswick