Tuesday evening, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) sent out an email notification indicating that, effective immediately, certain measures that were in place during the COVID-19 pandemic have been eliminated.  The most notable changes relate to the temporary authorization that the PLCB granted to allow for the use of expanded outdoor seating areas and the sale of mixed drinks to go by retail licensees.

What’s the genesis of this? Why is the rug seemingly being pulled out from under an industry that generates over $24 Billion in sales?  The industry surely deserves better. Today’s post will explain how and why they’re making these decisions as the disaster declaration ends.

Continue Reading End of the Disaster Declaration Disastrous for Licensees

As expected, the Governor’s office and the Department of Health (DOH) have released updated guidance to help bars, restaurants, hotels and others implement the updated mitigation orders that will allow many businesses to increase their capacity starting April 4.  Here is a link to the full guidance, as well as a link here for updated FAQ’s issued by the Department of Health, but I highlight a few of the main items below.

Bar Service

You can resume bar service provided you implement the following rules.

  • Patrons must be seated in order to be served.
  • Bar blocks or some type of divider must be used to separate parties. Alternatively, if partitions are not used, then seats between parties must be spaced at least 6 feet apart. If multiple people are in a party, they may sit next to one another at the bar, without 6 feet of space in between.  The 6 feet of space is required between parties, not individuals in the same party.
  • A customer may walk up to the bar in order to purchase food or drink but must then return to their seat in order to consume it.


Continue Reading Updated Restaurant Guidance for April 4th Increased Capacity

The Governor’s office has just announced that bars and restaurants can, starting at midnight on April 4, 2021, begin operating at 75% capacity, provided they have completed the self-certification process.

Self-Certification to Increase Capacity

For those that didn’t self-certify, that process is done online and requires you to certify that you will comply with CDC and Department of Health guidance relating to public health and safety measures to stem the spread of COVID-19. If you have not self-certified (and do not wish to now), you will be allowed to operate at 50% capacity. Currently, locations that don’t self-certify must operate at 25% capacity.

Regardless of whether you have self-certified or not, requirements such as mask-wearing and social distancing still apply.

Continue Reading Increased Occupancy up to 75% for Bars and Restaurants in PA – Effective April 4

Last week, the Governor signed into law Senate Bill 109, which included $145 Million of funds allocated specifically for grants to the restaurant and hotel industries.  The Bill intentionally included some swift deadlines for Counties to accept applications and allocate funds.

This week, the Lancaster County Commissioners approved an Agreement with the Economic Development Company (EDC) of Lancaster to administer the funds allocated to the County under the COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program (CHIRP). Along with that Agreement comes some additional specifics for the program that interested applicants should know.

How much money is available?

Congress has allocated $6,181,069 to Lancaster County for distribution to eligible applicants.

More importantly, since the County has engaged the EDC to distribute other recovery funds, the EDC was able to quickly create program parameters and should also be able to quickly roll out an application.

Continue Reading Lancaster EDC to Administer COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program (CHIRP)

After months of uncertainty about whether additional relief for restaurants and hotels would come from state and federal government sources, some good news has started to flow to the hotel and restaurant industry. The latest comes in the form of a $145 Million allocation of funds to provide grants to those restaurants and hotels that have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Friday, as part of a larger $900+ Million relief package aimed at helping businesses, local governments, and others, the Governor signed Senate Bill 109. This Bill allocates $145 Million previously transferred from the PA Workers’ Compensation Fund and designates it for the exclusive purpose of providing grants to hotels and restaurants.

Continue Reading $145 Million in Relief for Restaurants and Hotels

It’s only been a few hours since the Governor and the Secretary of Health announced that the state is imposing a limitation on the sale of alcohol on Wednesday, November 25, 2020.  What does this mean and who does it apply to?

On-Site Alcohol Consumption Must End at 5:00 pm

The Order provides that all sales or service of alcohol for on-site consumption must cease no later than 5:00 p.m. on November 25th.  It goes on to provide that no customer may possess alcoholic beverages within the business after 6:00 p.m. This includes:

Continue Reading Restriction of On-Site Alcohol Sales for Wednesday, November 25

It’s been another busy few days for the industry. Today’s hospitality update delves into what House Bill 2513 would and wouldn’t do, booking events with Governor Wolf’s restrictions still in limbo, and whether there’s personal liability attached to restaurant self-certification.

House Bill 2513

If you recall from my previous post, House Bill 2513 is

Given all the crazy twists and turns over the past few months, I keep thinking that things cannot get more difficult or confusing for folks in the hospitality industry…

Clearly, I need to stop saying that. It somehow keeps getting worse.

To say this has been an interesting couple of weeks is a pretty serious

On Tuesday, Governor Wolf announced that starting September 21st, restaurants may (but are not required to) increase their indoor seating capacity to 50%. This accommodation will finally provide some relief to the industry many believe has been the most significantly impacted by the Governor’s mitigation efforts.

On its face, this increased occupancy appears to