5f15b8bbc935b.image.jpg (copy) (copy)

The Market, a longtime restaurant and food store in Larimer Square in Denver, closed permanently in April.

As restaurants and bars struggle to survive the COVID-19 pandemic, the City and County of Denver will be waiving the 2021 renewal fees for retail food establishment licenses.

These licenses are required for all retail businesses that serve, store, prepare or package food for consumption. Renewal fees in Denver cost up to $400 per location.

These kinds of fees can make or break local restaurants as they have suffered through lessening business and customer capacity during COVID-19.

In Denver, there are 1,571 licensed retail food establishments, down 36% from before the pandemic in February, according to city and county data.

Applications for new retail food establishments in 2020 also dropped by 58% compared to 2019.

In 2020, the City and County of Denver received $774,000 in renewal fees from retail food establishments.

The fees go toward funding food safety inspections and licensing and enforcement of health regulations.

The passage of State Bill 20B-001 last month allows Denver to waive the renewal fees through December 2021, receiving funding reimbursement through the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Licensing is still required for all retail food establishments in Denver.

Businesses that have already paid their renewal fees for 2021 can call 311 to request a refund from the Department of Excise and Licenses.