On March 18, 2020, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (“PLCB”) issued Advisory Notice No. 26: Temporary Cessation of the Sale of Food and Alcohol for On-Premises Consumption Relative to COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. There is not much difference in this Advisory Notice from the PLCB’s previous releases, but there is certainly a new tone regarding enforcement of these rules.
As we have previously documented, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Governor Wolf had strongly urged all food and beverage businesses to cease the on-premises sale and consumption of all food and beverages. However, off-premises sales, whether to-go, curbside, or delivery if a license permits it, were still allowed. The PLCB enumerates the following privileges that are currently permitted and prohibited for each licensee as of 8:00 PM on March 18, 2020, until further notice:
The most important aspect of this COVID-19 Advisory Notice is the PLCB’s statements regarding enforcement and suspension. Any licensee that fails to comply with the above provisions risks citation from the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement (“BLCE”). BLCE will notify the PLCB of any citations that are issued, and the PLCB may suspend a licensee’s operating authority based on the circumstances. If you receive a suspension and continue to operate, a licensee will risk further enforcement from BLCE.
It is clear that Governor Wolf’s administration, the PLCB, and BLCE will actively enforce this Advisory Notice. It even includes a link to the complaint form for BLCE. All licensees, in the interest of public health and safety, should continue to comply with the above provisions, and make sure their operations and sales are within the privileges of the license they hold.
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For information regarding national and state liquor law matters or general manufacturing and distribution advice, please contact our Liquor Law, Licensing, Manufacturing, and Distribution Practice Group: Liquor Law Department Chair Theodore J. Zeller III, Esquire (firstname.lastname@example.org); David C. Berger, Esquire (email@example.com) for Pennsylvania and New Jersey retail and manufacturing licensing; or contact our offices at 610-391-1800.