PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Pennsylvania restaurants are hoping to be able to once again serve to-go cocktails. It’s no longer allowed now that the legislature ended Gov. Tom Wolf’s COVID-19 emergency after voters approved a ballot question restricting the governor’s powers in emergency declarations.
Drinks to-go became a lifeline for struggling restaurants during the height of the pandemic. It abruptly ended when Pennsylvania’s emergency disaster declaration ended on Tuesday.READ MORE: CDC's New Mask Guidance In Schools Creates Tense Moments At Central Bucks Board Meeting
Now, it’s becoming a partisan nightmare leaving many restaurants in limbo.
“Let’s go back to what we had during the pandemic, I’m very happy to continue to do that, a clean bill I’d sign immediately,” Gov. Tom Wolf said.
Wolf addressed the issue during a press conference in Media on Thursday, saying his initial bill providing the outlet has been amended to include other distributors outside of restaurants.
“I really wanted to see the drinks to go,” Wolf said. “And what turned out to be happening was that there were some disingenuous amendments that were being put on.”READ MORE: 'Everyone Keeps Passing The Buck': Tree Threatens Philadelphia Family's Home With No Help In Sight
State Sen. Shariff Street says lawmakers need to work out a compromise that doesn’t have an adverse effect on restaurants.
“Sitting in bars and eating, where they tend to make money and have them go to either a stop-and-go or supermarket and pick it up and keep going rather than sitting down to get a mixed drink and socializing with friends,” Street said.
State legislators expect to take up the issue next week as restaurants and customers wait to see if a compromise can be reached.
“We just got that over to the House. We’re going to take a look at it,” Rep. Seth Grove said. “We haven’t had conversations or caucus about it. Obviously, there is support in trying to advance something to help our restaurants.”MORE NEWS: Garden State Parkway Service Areas To Be Renamed After These 9 New Jersey Icons
State lawmakers say they’re trying to ensure this becomes a priority next week. They will also discuss the end of outdoor seating capacity as well.