Gov. Wolf Signs Bill Allowing Pennsylvania Bars, Restaurants To Sell Cocktails-To-Go Ahead Of Memorial Day Weekend

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — Pennsylvania bars and restaurants are now allowed to sell cocktails-to-go with Memorial Day weekend approaching. Gov. Tom Wolf signed the bill into law on Thursday.

“This new temporary rule creates more business for bars and restaurants when they need it, helps to meet customer demand and supports social distancing,” Wolf said in a statement. “As we approach the holiday weekend, I encourage all Pennsylvanians to remember to drink responsibly.”

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Bars, restaurants and hotels that have lost 25% of average monthly total sales during the COVID-19 pandemic can now sell cocktails-to-go.

The drinks must be sold in containers with a secure lid before 11 p.m. and drinks have to be sold with a food order. There’s no limit on how many cocktails you can buy.

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According to the law, you aren’t supposed to open it up until you leave the restaurant’s property. Also, you can’t have cocktails delivered.

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Restaurant owners say this is the shot in the arm they need. Most restaurants’ profits are from liquor sales and they’ve been devastated by this shutdown, but they hope this will get them back to some sense of normalcy.

“We definitely took a big hit, we were closed for some time,” said Garage Passyunk manager Justin Coen.

At Tradesman’s on Chestnut Street, their boozy popsicle got off to a popular start, while customers at Garage Passyunk were quick to call about their signature frose.

“It’s definitely going to help with our revenue to give us a little jump,” Coen said

It’s a little jump and kickstart before Memorial Day weekend but still a far cry from business as usual.

Adam Anderson, co-owner of Pistolas Del Sur, says he’s not sure the restaurant industry will ever get back to normal.

“It remains to be seen, and I don’t know if we’re ever going to get back to where we were, and if so, it may be years,” Anderson said. “It’s been absolutely devastating to us and the entire restaurant community.”

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The temporary law expires after the COVID-19 disaster emergency ends and a business reaches 60% capacity.

CBS3’s Howard Monroe and Alexandria Hoff contributed to this report.