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People gather on Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach last year. Photo by Janet Morgan/janet.morgan@myhorrynews.com

Business owners will be getting a little relief from the city because of the state of emergency related to COVID-19.

The business owners are still responsible for renewing a business license by April 30, but they will be getting two extra months to make the full payment without facing a 5% penalty.

The Myrtle Beach City Council on Tuesday approved a resolution stating that businesses can renew their licenses by April 30 and pay 10% of the fee. The remaining 90% has been pushed to a due date of June 30.

Ordinarily, the city would have charged a 5% penalty if payments were made on or after May 1.

City council members said the relief is because business owners are suffering financially through no fault of their own. The suffering, they agree, is because of the effects of the pandemic.

In March 2020, Gov. Henry McMaster issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency limiting gatherings of 50 or more people in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. The order still exists.

Jeremy Roof and Michelle Shumpert of the city’s financial services office said business license fees make up about 30% of the general fund in the city’s budget. Shumpert said that money is vital to the city’s operation.

“It is hereby determined that a public emergency affecting life, health, and safety does exist and is compromising the ability of local businesses to timely renew and pay their licenses fees,” the resolution states.

Horry County Treasurer Angie Jones said county businesses that need more time to pay for their license renewals should contact the Business License and Hospitality Fee Office at 843-915-5620. If the office determines there’s a hardship, the late penalty could be waived, giving businesses more time to pay for their licenses. Those requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

"I'll work with them," Jones said of the business owners.

Janet Morgan is the editor of the Myrtle Beach Herald. Contact her at 843-488-7258 or at janet.morgan@myhorrynews.com.

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