Pennsylvania halts alcohol sales in bars, restaurants the night before Thanksgiving


Pennsylvania bars and restaurants will have to stop serving alcohol Wednesday evening, the day before Thanksgiving, as part of the state’s new efforts to bring down the COVID-19 case count, according to KTLA sister station WBRE/WYOU in Scranton.

Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine made the announcement at a news conference Monday.

Between 5 p.m. Wednesday and 8 a.m. Thursday, bars and restaurants will not be permitted to serve beer and liquor in the commonwealth.

The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association reacted to the governor’s order to halt alcohol sales on Wednesday.

“We understand that the COVID case numbers are increasing, and once again, our industry understands that it is being asked to sacrifice in order to play a role in saving lives of Pennsylvanians,” said Chuck Moran, executive director at PLBTA. “Specifically, taverns and licensed restaurants will need to cut off patron requests for on-premise consumption of alcohol on only Nov. 25 starting at 5 p.m.”

Additional safeguards have been added to limit coronavirus spread at schools. Dr. Levine recommended that schools make learning 100% remote, but the decision is still up to local entities. Levine said 59 counties have been operating at substantial transmission level for coronavirus for at least two consecutive weeks.

After two weeks, schools in those counties implementing in-person learning or a blended model will have to sign an attestation form certifying that safety protocols have been followed. If a school does not sign a form or comply, they will be required to provide full remote learning as well as suspend all extra-curricular activities.

The Department of Health implemented a stay-at-home order that goes into effect Monday, Nov. 23. Dr. Levine specified that the order does not mean the state is shutting down again. The order is for Pennsylvanians to stay home unless entirely necessary.

The Wolf administration continued to advocate for every Pennsylvanian to wear a mask and to stay home.

“As of today, we are in a very dangerous situation,” said Governor Wolf. “We are all safer at home.”

Effective Nov. 27, Dr. Levine advised that anyone who is able to telework, should. Safety measures required for businesses include cleaning, social distancing and masking.

To further enforce mask orders, the administration introduced legal protection for all businesses that remain open and enforce mask mandates, protecting them from civil suits.

The PLBTA also commended the administrations mask enforcement liability.

“With that bad news for the industry, the Governor did deliver some good news related to business liability for those enforcing mask rules. We are thankful for that liability protection. We get the importance of the keeping patrons safe, and our industry works hard to do so every day,” Moran said. 

The Department of Health discussed how important masks are, as the state has a percent positivity rate of 11%. Dr. Levine said there is only one county in the state that has percent positivity below 5%, Cameron County.

See a full outline of the administration’s new COVID-19 mitigation efforts and the state’s latest virus statistics from the PA Dept. of Health latest info page.

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