MEDIA, Pa. (CBS) — Pennsylvanians expecting to enjoy a Thanksgiving week tradition tomorrow night may be in for a shock. Gov. Tom Wolf has ordered bars and restaurants to stop serving alcohol for one night, but the change is causing confusion.
A lot of restaurants and bar owners believe the governor is crashing a Thanksgiving Eve tradition. They’re not party bars but fine-dining establishments who have been unfairly lumped in.
There’s alcohol anger and booze confusion in Pennsylvania.
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board says stores have been crushed with people incorrectly believing the governor ordered them to stop alcohol sales at 5 p.m. Wednesday. Again, that’s not true.
“We’ve been hearing that our stores are very, very busy,” said Shawn Kelly with the PLCB.
Meanwhile, the governor’s order prohibiting alcohol sales for Thanksgiving Eve has inspired some Media-area restaurants to think outside the box. At La Padella, they’ll pivot to a BYOB.
“We’ve gotten nothing but great feedback. People are just happy to see us continuing and to still be here,” Nick Amoroso said.
Brick and Brew, known for its long menu of crafty cocktails, says they’ll be losing a lot of money as a result of the one-night alcohol prohibition.
Marc Dent says he doesn’t get it.
“You enact these rules that don’t apply — they apply them to everybody but quite frankly, they don’t take the time to understand that there’s niche markets within the restaurant industry,” Dent said. “We’re lumped in, absolutely.”
Similar frustrations are on tap at Spasso Italian Grill, where manager Paul Maranca says he’s again forced to jump through hoops.
“To limit no alcohol sales even at a table makes no sense to me. I mean, we’re always all about safety, keeping our staff safe, our patrons safe, but we already have no bar service. Nobody can even get a drink and come up to the bar. So why limit people from getting table service?” Maranca said.
Back at the Fine Wine and Liquor store on Baltimore Pike in Media, we met Toni Lorraine Johnson with her big candy cane of vodka.
“A lot of my girlfriends, especially here in Media, we’re gonna come run and get out liquor today,” she said.
One bar owner tells Eyewitness News that restaurant and bar owners aren’t being given a fair seat at the table when it comes to making decisions that affect their livelihood.
Now he’s adjusting his hours of operation to try to make up for the lost revenue on Wednesday. As we approach Thanksgiving, Pennsylvania bar and restaurant owners are feeling disappointed.
“Here we are 10 months later and we’re going into another shutdown. The governor basically took away the best night of the year for the bar and restaurant industry,” said Matthew Yeck from Gaul & Co. Malt House in Rockledge.
So, the owner of Gaul & Co. Malt House is adjusting his hours — to sell food and cocktails to make up for the six hours lost in alcohol sales.
“We’re going to start at 7 a.m. and we’re going to follow the law all the way until 4:59 p.m.,” Yeck said.
He tells us they plan to open their doors bright and early Thanksgiving Day to try to make up that lost revenue.
He believes the service industry is being singled out.
“I wonder are they shutting down Walmart and the big box stores on Friday morning for Black Friday or is everybody allowed to go and support those big businesses?” said Yeck. “Because the small businesses are hurting and I don’t know if anybody is paying attention to us.”
It not just Gaul & Co. Malt House. Food establishments across the country are hurting, with no financial plan to fund the struggling industry.
“If your real concern was the public health, maybe sit down with the bar and restaurant industry and give us a seat at the table. Let us voice our concerns and maybe there’s some type of a package you can offer us,” Yeck said.
The order does not impact take out alcohol sales. State stores will be open normal hours on Wednesday.
CBS3’s Joe Holden and Kimberly Davis contributed to this report.
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