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COVID-19 Brings Consumer Convenience to Pennsylvania

Consumer Beer and Wine Sales at Grocery and Convenience Stores and Wineries in Pennsylvania

Effective tomorrow, August 4, 2020, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) amended sections 407, 415, and 442 of Act 29 of 2020. These revisions allow Pennsylvania Restaurant (“R”) liquor licensees, Eating Place Malt Beverage (“E”) licensees, and Wine Expanded Permit (“WEP”) holders that possess interior connections to another business they operate, such as a grocery store, convenience store, or similarly situated business that cannot have its entire building or business licensed, to have the consumer use the cash registers at their other business to sell malt or brewed beverages and wine for off-premises consumption.

Consumer Convenience in Pennsylvania

Previously, all alcohol sales in these businesses were confined to the licensed areas where alcohol was stored, served, and sold. This confused many customers who tried to check out at the wrong register line with beer and wine purchases. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a push to allow customers to use other registers in the store to create fewer touchpoints for customers by not having to use two different registers and to create less congestion in the licensed areas, which are typically fairly small.

Qualifications for Additional Cash Registers

In order to qualify, ALL the following requirements must be met:

  • The licensee’s building is 11,000 square feet or less;
  • The other business cash registers are in the same building as the licensed premises; and
  • The other business cash registers comply with the following standards as set forth by 47 P.S. 4-415(a)(8) and (9) of the Liquor Code:
    • Cash registers must have signage to designate that alcohol may be purchased at said register
    • Cash registers cannot be registers where customers scan their own purchases, which means that self-checkout is still prohibited for all alcohol purchases
    • Cash registers must always be staffed when patrons are purchasing alcohol
    • Cash register clerks must be at least 18 years of age and have completed Responsible Alcohol Management Program training
    • Cash register clerks must use a transaction scan device to verify the age of any patron purchasing alcohol who appears to be under 35 years of age before a sale can occur
    • The licensee may not sell or share the data from the use of its transaction scan device, except for providing said data to the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement

In order to start using additional cash registers, all the above-mentioned criteria must be met AND an email notification of compliance must be sent to RA-LBLICINV@PA.GOV including the following information:

  • LID, license number, and licensee name and address
  • The building’s total square footage
  • Plans or sketches that show the location of the specific cash registers being used
  • Confirmation that all conditions are met

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 GroupLiquor Law Department Chair Theodore J. Zeller III, Esquire (tzeller@norris-law.com); Matthew B. Andersen, Esquire (mandersen@norris-law.com) for federal and Pennsylvania manufacturing and retail licensing; David C. Berger, Esquire (dberger@norris-law.com) for Pennsylvania retail licensing; and Andrew D. Linden, Esquire (adlinden@norris-law.com) for federal or New Jersey manufacturing and retail licensing; or contact our offices at 610-391-1800.

The information contained in this post may not reflect the most current developments, as the subject matter is extremely fluid and constantly changing. Please continue to monitor this site for ongoing developments. Readers are also cautioned against taking any action based on information contained herein without first seeking advice from professional legal counselFor more topics related to COVID-19, visit our Coronavirus Thought Leadership Connection.