Freehold council waives fees to give business operators a boost

FREEHOLD – As a way of offering a helping hand to business operators in Freehold Borough, municipal officials have waived certain fees for the remainder of 2020.

On June 15, Borough Council members passed a resolution that waives sidewalk café and temporary license fees for outdoor sales and dining for 2020.

The resolution states that the 2020 coronavirus pandemic and executive orders issued by Gov. Phil Murphy have severely impacted the ability of businesses to operate and serve customers.

Earlier this month, Murphy began lifting restrictions that have been in place since mid-March.

As noted in the council’s resolution, the governor’s actions include the phasing in or the partial or modified reopening of certain businesses. The council’s passage of the resolution coincided with the resumption of outdoor dining as of June 15. As of that date, indoor dining was still prohibited.

As of June 15, indoor gatherings for uses other than dining are limited to 25% of the capacity of a room. Regardless of a room’s capacity, the limit will never be less than 10 or more than 50 people. Outdoor gatherings are limited to 100 people and attendees are required to be 6 feet apart.

Because of the restrictions remaining on indoor gatherings, the resolution states that such indoor businesses will not be able to operate at full capacity, greatly impacting a business’s financial viability.

“Businesses have suffered great financial hardship during the closure and/or severe restrictions,” council members said in the resolution. “In order to assist local businesses in this difficult time, the mayor and council have determined to waive the usual sidewalk café fee and the fee for any temporary licenses issued to businesses to expand the area in which they operate.”

The resolution states that a business will be able to expand the footprint of its operation. Any sidewalk café fee or temporary license fee that has been paid by a business operator for 2020 will be refunded by the borough.