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County announces sales tax relief for local restaurants


Last updated 12/16/2020 at 9:42am

The city of Colorado Springs and El Paso County announced a joint Sales Tax Relief plan for restaurants that have experienced sales declines due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program is limited to the General Fund portion of taxes for each organization (2% for the city and 1% for the county).

Both entities still need formal approval and will release additional details in the near future, a spokesperson said.

“Most of our local restaurant owners have worked hard to protect their customers, employees, and also to feed their families,” said El Paso Board of County Commissioners Chair Mark Waller. “It’s frustrating the state is limiting their ability to operate, and we all must do everything we can to help. We’re happy to work with the city of Colorado Springs, and any other municipality, to offer tax relief to these businesses.”

Pending approval, applicants will only apply once for both tax relief programs. The programs will be similar but not identical.

Both programs will have the same threshold to participate. To qualify for the program, Relief/Assistance Program restaurants must have incurred a greater than 5 percent loss from third quarter 2019 to third quarter 2020. The maximum rebate is $1,400 per month (or sales tax on up to $70,000 in sales).

However, the programs will cover different months of revenue. The city’s program offers refunds based on the taxes remitted on sales from November 2020, December 2020, January 2021 and February 2021. The county’s program offers refunds from July 2020 through February 2021.

In related news, the county has reported that there does not seem to be a major increase in COVID-19 cases due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

The most recent data, as of Dec. 13, shows:

Incidence – 1,144.4 (down from 1183.3 on previous day)

Average daily cases in the last 7 days – 530 (down from 543 on previous day)

Positivity – 14.06 % (down from 14.51% on previous day)

Hospitalizations in the last 7 days (12/7-12/13) – 94 (down from 108 on previous 7 days)

Deaths in the last 7 days (12/7-12/13) – 28 (down from 40 on previous 7 days)

“We have now passed the 14-day mark post-Thanksgiving weekend,” a news release from El Paso County Public Health stated. “We have yet to see a spike in our daily cases. The current status of incidence indicates that Thanksgiving did not cause a major increase in our numbers, which is encouraging. We continue to see hospitalizations and deaths, which lag the case counts. El Paso County’s 14-day positivity percentage is also on a declining trend.”

Officials say this report is encouraging but that they recommend staying the course “and continue to increase the prevention measures.”

“As a community, we need to diligently practice prevention measures to continue to decrease our numbers: wear a mask properly, practice social distancing, wash hands frequently, stay home when sick, and limit gatherings to members of your own household,” officials said.


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