Laughlin to Introduce Cocktails-to-Go Legislation

HARRISBURG – Many small businesses have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and a lot – such as our restaurants and bars – continue to struggle.

“Since these establishments still need help, I plan to introduce, with Sen. John Yudichak, legislation to permanently allow bars and restaurants to sell cocktails-to-go,” said Sen. Dan Laughlin, R-Erie, who will prime sponsor the bill.

Earlier during the pandemic, as part of efforts to address the impacts of the governor’s COVID emergency declaration, the ability to sell cocktails-to-go by bars and restaurants was temporarily granted to give them a new source of revenue.

During a recent hearing conducted by the Senate Community, Economic & Recreational Development Committee, statewide business advocates and entrepreneurs told lawmakers that recovery has not started for many small businesses.

“This legislation will give restaurants and bars an opportunity to maintain cash flow and expand offerings, aiding them in their recovery,” Sen. Laughlin said.

According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, 33 states adopted alcohol-to-go programs in the early days of COVID-19, with 16 of those states making their programs permanent, while another 15 have provided extended approval to their programs. Across Pennsylvania’s borders, New York’s governor has urged making drinks-to-go permanent, while New Jersey lawmakers approved legislation last year allowing local governments to authorize cocktails-to-go.

“We need to continue supporting our businesses in Pennsylvania, giving them additional options to help them recover and avoid permanent closure. This legislation will do that,” said Sen. Laughlin.

Contact:          Matt Azeles 717.787.8927

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