The head of the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division and his staff met in Cedar Rapids Tuesday with liquor license holders who saw their businesses washed away by the June flooding. Division administrator, Lynn Walding, says it’s part of the state effort to take whatever administrative steps they can to help businesses recover from the disaster.
Walding says one of the things they decided is since the businesses have not been operating after the flooding hit June 10th, they should get a refund on their license fees. He says several of the businesses will get three to six months of their license fees back. Walding says there are some 3,000 liquor licenses in the Cedar Rapids area, and around 50 of them were hit by the flooding.
Walding says they basically put their license fees on hold for the time they have not been operating, and also will allow them to keep the license as a renewal when they start back up, instead of having to apply for a new license. He says operating as a renewed license makes it easier on the establishments in dealing with vendors.
Walding says they originally didn’t think many of the establishments with licenses would come back — but he says that assumption now looks to be wrong. "It looks like many of the businesses are working towards recovery, in fact we did a tour of the Czech Village after the meeting and went through the bars that were impacted," Walding says, "and you could certainly see the scope of the damage, but you could also see the labor and work that’s going into bringing these establishments back into business."
Walding says most of the businesses are hoping to get back up and running by the holiday weekend. He says they are also interested in helping other areas of the state. Walding says they’ve been asked to start with Cedar Rapids and then spread out to other communities. Coralville and Iowa City will probably be the next stop, and Walding says any other cities that have establishments that were shut down by the flooding can contact the Alcoholic Beverages Division to see about getting license refunds.
Walding says they will also talk with the establishments about suspending their liability insurance coverage to help them save additional dollars until they can get up and running once again.