LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been directed to stop enforcing at $14,060 fee on distilleries around the country that produced and donated hand sanitizer during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a Tweet on Thursday, the Department of Health and Human Services said it directed the FDA to stop enforcement on the "arbitrary, surprise user fees."

The federal government worked closely with distilleries when they began producing the hand sanitizer, which was short in supply at the time. And the FDA had said the fee is because the businesses were labeled as temporary non-prescription drug manufacturers. The FDA said the charge is related to the cost it has in regulating the over-the-counter drugs, which is what hand sanitizer is categorized as.

“It’s wrong. It’s unwarranted. It’s untimely," Eric Gregory, president of the Kentucky Distillers Association said earlier Thursday. "With a few days left in the year, you get this unexpected bill. That’s just a slap in the face.”

Distilleries just learned of the fee this week.

“Small businesses who stepped up to fight COVID-19 should be applauded by their government, not taxed for doing so," Brian Harrison, HHS chief of staff, said in the tweet. "Happy New Year, distilleries, and cheers to you for helping keep us safe!"

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