Restaurant COVID-19 relief bill filed in state Senate

Restaurant COVID-19 relief bill filed in state Senate
A bill that would allow restaurants to expand outdoor dining without prior approval from the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Division and delay payment of restaurant sales taxes was filed this week in the Legislature. (Source: ABC/NBC)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KAIT) - A bill that would allow restaurants to expand outdoor dining without prior approval from the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Division and delay payment of restaurant sales taxes was filed this week in the Legislature.

SB479, sponsored by Sen. Clarke Tucker (D-Little Rock), was filed Thursday in Little Rock.

Under the bill, a restaurant with a valid alcohol permit could expand its outdoor dining availability by getting approval from a local zoning board, either at the city or county level, without having to go to ABC.

However, if an expansion leads to a change in the permit, the restaurant would have to go to ABC to get approval.

If approved, the bill would also cap fees that a third-party delivery service can charge due to COVID-19.

“Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, beginning on the effective date of this act and for a period of 90 days after the termination of the COVID-19 emergency, a third-party delivery service company shall not charge a covered establishment a fee per online order for the use of the third-party delivery service company’s services that totals more than 15% of the purchase price of the online order,” the bill noted.

Any third-party delivery service that violates the law would be subject to the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, according to the bill.

The bill was referred to the Senate City, County, and Local Affairs Committee.

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