San Mateo County to relief certain permit fees for local businesses impacted by pandemic

San Mateo County to provide permit fee relief for local, pandemic-impacted businesses

in Community

Over 5,400 San Mateo County businesses won’t have to pay annual permit fees this year for regulatory services rendered by the County’s Environmental Health Services (EHS) thanks to a pandemic-relief program established by the County’s Board of Directors on Tuesday.

EHS conducts state-mandated regulatory oversight for over 14,000 businesses in both incorporated and unincorporated areas, which includes inspection and permitting services that are paid for by a variety of businesses. Fees are based on the average time it takes to oversee the business, influenced by its size and complexity.

Certain businesses within retail food, public pools and spas, body art and massage, hotels and the commercial and industrial sectors will benefit from the new “Environmental Health Permit Fee Relief Program.”

County Supervisors Dave Pine and Warren Slocum sponsored the effort. Slocum said the program will save businesses over $5 million in the year ahead.

“Many local businesses are only now preparing for normal operation after 15 months of struggle,” Pine added. “Providing relief from permitting fees is a means to help local businesses get up and running as soon as possible.”

About 5 percent of retail food businesses regulated by EHS, about 230 of 4,633 businesses, have shuttered permanently due to the restrictive health orders imposed during the pandemic, the County said.

John Kevranian, owner of Nuts for Candy in Burlingame, said permit fee relief will allow businesses “to use their funds for more urgent expenses and keep their business doors open in San Mateo County.”

Amy Buckmaster, president and CEO of Chamber San Mateo County, applauded the County Board of Supervisors for providing additional pandemic relief for businesses.

“It will take most small business owners years to fully recover from COVID’s economic impacts,” Buckmaster said. “While we all celebrate full tables at restaurants, shoppers in stores, and office workers coming back in the coming months – we don’t see the credit card bills, unpaid rent, cashed-in 401k accounts, or loans used to survive the past 15 months.”

Photo credit: Scopio