2021 license renewal fees waived to help struggling Denver restaurants

Local News

A restaurant in north Denver.

DENVER (KDVR) — The City and County of Denver announced Wednesday it is waiving the 2021 renewal fees for the required retail food establishment license, as so many businesses have been struggling through the COVID-19 crisis.

Renewal fees for this license range from $125 to $400 per location.

The city says “food establishments” include any retail operation that serves, stores, prepares or packages food for sale for consumption to consumers directly or through a delivery service.

Last year, licensing fees brought in $774,000 for the city. The fees help with things, such as food safety inspections, licensing and enforcement of rules and regulations to protect public safety.

The city moved forward with waiving the fees after a state bill was passed last month that authorized the waiver through December 2021 and allows counties to contract with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to receive state funding reimbursement.  

The city says licensing is still required. Business that have already paid their retail food establishment renewal fees for 2021 can call 311 and request a refund from the Department of Excise and Licenses.

There are currently 1,571 licensed retail food establishments in the City and County of Denver. That is down 36% from the 2,428 licensed retail food establishments before the COIVD-19 pandemic on Feb. 28, 2020.

Applications for new retail food establishments in 2020 dropped 58% compared to 2019 as fewer new restaurants opened during the pandemic.

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