ST. JOSEPH – Motels and other short-term and vacation rental businesses in St. Joseph are temporarily exempt from paying the city’s lodging tax amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The St. Joseph Economic Development Authority Tuesday passed a motion to suspend collection of the three-percent tax from Dec. 1 through June 1, 2021.

“Earlier this year, we reduced liquor license fees for bars and restaurants, but continued to collect lodging from our motels and bed and breakfasts,” said Rick Schultz, St. Joseph Mayor and EDA member. “We have realized that, in addition to the hospitality industry, the travel industry has been under similar duress.”

St. Joseph’s lodging tax is the primary source of funding for the city’s convention and visitor’s bureau. Schultz says the EDA operates a small "rainy day fund" to make sure the bureau’s activities remain unaffected in leaner times.