This afternoon, Governor Tom Wolf signed House Bill 327, now Act 21 of 2020, allowing the temporary sale of cocktails-to-go form bars, restaurants or hotels with a liquor license. The law takes effect immediately.
“This new temporary rule creates more business for bars and restaurants when they need it, helps to meet customer demand and supports social distancing,” said Governor Wolf. “As we approach the holiday weekend, I encourage all Pennsylvanians to remember to drink responsibly.”
Pennsylvania’s cocktail-to-go rule is intended as temporary, extending only until businesses are able to reach 60% of seating capacity. This rule applies to licensees with a restaurant or hotel license that have lost more than 25% of average monthly sales during the pandemic. It also allows them to serve sealed containers of mixed drinks in servings of 4 to 64 ounces before 11 p.m. It is important to note that drinks may not be delivered.
Last week, New Jersey approved similar legislation, allowing bars to sell cocktails of up to a pint for takeout or delivery.
Of course, Pennsylvania’s Dram Shop Law will still apply. If any bartender gives alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person, that business may be legally held responsible for injuries and damages the intoxicated individual might cause. PA’s Dram Shop law is often cited after a drunk driver causes a car crash. This law also applies if a restaurant serves a visibly intoxicated person and that person trips, falls, or gets seriously injured while walking back to their car – that person can also sue.