October 16th, 2020

PA Governor Vetoes Bill to Relax Bar & Restaurant Restrictions

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has vetoed House Bill 2513, delivering a blow to the hopes of Pennsylvania’s bar and restaurant industry on the final day of the Governor’s veto window.

As we covered in last month’s update, HB 2513 was passed by an overwhelming bi-partisan majority and stood to relax the industry’s operating restrictions by:

  • Permitting bars and restaurants to operate at 50% capacity for indoor dining by following the CDC and Pennsylvania’s social distancing guidelines or maintaining physical barriers;
  • Lifting the ban on bar service and the use of bar seating for both food and alcohol sales; and
  • Lifting the requirement that food be served with alcohol sales.

With the Governor’s veto of HB 2513, the bill is headed back to the General Assembly to determine whether it will hold a veto override vote, which would require a two-thirds majority vote in both the House and the Senate.

For now, bar and restaurant owners wishing to operate at 50% capacity must self-certify and comply with the guidelines of the state’s Open & Certified program, created under the Governor’s September 17, 2020 Order.

The Governor’s press release and veto message can be found here.

We will continue to keep you updated as we navigate the ever-evolving laws and regulation surrounding COVID-19.  As always, the attorneys of Gross McGinley, LLP are here to help you with any questions.

Attorneys Jason A. Ulrich, Thomas E. Reilly, Jr. and Ross Ramaley practice in Gross McGinley’s Business Services Group, providing legal counsel to regionally and nationally-held businesses.