State halts alcohol sales in bars and restaurants night before Thanksgiving, adds safeguards

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HARRISBURG, DAUPHIN COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine held a news conference Monday where they announced a pause in on-premises beer and liquor sales on Wednesday, the night before Thanksgiving.

Between 5 p.m. Wednesday and 8 a.m. Thursday, bars and restaurants will not be permitted to serve beer and liquor in the commonwealth.

The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern association reacted to the governor’s order to halt alcohol sales on Wednesday.

“We understand that the COVID case numbers are increasing, and once again, our industry understands that it is being asked to sacrifice in order to play a role in saving lives of Pennsylvanians,” said Chuck Moran, executive director at PLBTA. “Specifically, taverns and licensed restaurants will need to cut off patron requests for on-premise consumption of alcohol on only November 25 starting at 5 p.m.”

Additional safeguards have been added to limit coronavirus spread at schools. Dr. Levine recommended for schools to operate fully remote, but the decision is still up to local entities. Levine said 59 counties have been operating at substantial transmission level for coronavirus, for at least two consecutive weeks.

After two-weeks, schools in those counties who are learning in-person or with a blended model, will have to sign an attestation form certifying that safety protocols have been followed. If a school does not sign a form or comply, they will be required to provide full remote learning as well as suspend all extra-curricular activities.

The Department of Health implemented a ‘stay at home’ order that is effective Monday November 23. Dr. Levine specified that the order does not mean the state is shutting down again. The order is for Pennsylvanian’s to stay home unless entirely necessary.

The Wolf administration continued to advocate for every Pennsylvanian to wear a mask and to stay home.

“As of today, we are in a very dangerous situation,” said Governor Wolf. “We are all safer at home.”

Effective November 27, Dr. Levine advised that anyone who is able to tele-work, should. Safety measures required for businesses, those include cleaning, social distancing and masking.

To further enforce mask orders, the administration introduced a liability protection for all businesses that maintain in-person operations and are open to the public. Those businesses will receive immunity from civil liability, only as related to masking orders, given that individuals and entities are engaged in essential emergency services activities and disaster services activities when enforcing the order.

The PLBTA also commended the administrations mask enforcement liability.

“With that bad news for the industry, the Governor did deliver some good news related to business liability for those enforcing mask rules. We are thankful for that liability protection. We get the importance of the keeping patrons safe, and our industry works hard to do so every day,” Moran said. 

The Department of Health discussed how important masks are, as the state has a percent positivity rate of 11-percent. Dr. Levine said there is only one county in the state that has percent positivity below 5-percent, that county is Cameron County.

A full outlining of the administrations new mitigations efforts can be found here. To see the latest on COVID-19, visit our PA Dept. of Health latest info page.

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