Restaurant owners react to the new state ban on alcohol sales


As COVID-19 cases across the state continue to rise, Governor Tom Wolf takes a controversial step.

The state’s secretary of health announced a ban on the sale of alcohol at bars and restaurants beginning on Wednesday night.

The Wolf administration made that announcement today during the state’s update on the spread of COVID-19 across the commonwealth.

With more than 4,700 new cases announced today and the cumulative number of cases since March exceeding 314,000 the governor doubled down on the state’s efforts to defeat the spread of the virus by cracking down on social gatherings prior to the Thanksgiving holiday.

Closer to home, local bar owners are weighing in on the ban just days before the Thanksgiving holiday.

Historically Thanksgiving Eve is one of the busiest drinking days of the year.

Restaurant owners said that they understand the ban, but this still will take a toll on sales.

Frustrations are adding up.

“We’re at a point right now where most bars and restaurants are on a life line and grasping at straws and this is another 48 hour notice where you can’t be open to operate as usual,” said Chris Sirianni, Owner of BrewErie.

Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine announced a ban on alcohol sales starting at 5 p.m. Wednesday until 8 a.m. Thanksgiving Day in hopes of curbing COVID-19 cases.

This comes as Erie County reports more than 100 cases per day for the past 12 days.

“I think that it’s a wise thing to actually very discourage that gathering. I know a lot of people that may not be happy about it, but we’re in a very dangerous situation right now,” said Kathy Dahlkemper, Erie County Executive.

Restaurants will still be open for business and allow for dine in at 50% capacity.

Another restaurant owner said that this ban is an added frustration especially after complying with the state’s restrictions for the past eight months.

“A place like this or restaurants in town, the tables are spaced eight feet apart and the ceilings are twenty or thirty feet high. The servers are wearing masks,” said Marci Honard, Owner of Calamari’s.

Some restaurant owners said that they feel targeted while saying that private gatherings and house parties are the cause to a spike in COVID-19 cases and not restaurants following the restrictions.

Along with this measure, a stay at home advisory has also been issued and goes into effect today.

Dr. Rachel Levine is asking people not to congregate for the holidays and stay home unless it’s absolutely necessary to go out somewhere.

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Source: Pennsylvania Department of Health

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