July 30th, 2020

PLCB Updates Guidance for Bars and Restaurants – July 22, 2020

On July 22, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) updated its guidance to address what is permissible in yellow and green counties, following the Governor’s issuance of a new Executive Order dated July 15, 2020. Among other things, the updated guidance provided for a reduction of services in bars and restaurants.

The updated PLCB guidance provides the following for restaurant, retail dispenser, and hotel licensees (whether offering indoor or outdoor seating); club and catering club licensees; brewery, distillery, limited distillery, winery, and limited winery licensees; and golf course licensees:

  • Sales of alcohol for on-premises consumption are only permissible as part of a larger transaction that includes a meal purchase. The term “meal” is defined in Section 406 of the Pennsylvania Liquor Code as “food prepared on the premises, sufficient to constitute breakfast, lunch or dinner.” The definition expressly states that a snack, such as pretzels, popcorn, chips, or similar food, does not meet the definition of a meal.
  • A customer who wishes to consume alcohol on premises must also purchase a meal; a group of customers who wish to consume alcohol on premises may do so as long as a meal is part of the purchase made by the group.
  • Additional drinks may be purchased while the customer is consuming the meal, but no further drinks may be purchased after the meal is finished.
  • Bar service of food and/or alcohol is prohibited.
  • For Pennsylvania manufacturers (breweries, distilleries, and wineries), meals may be provided by the licensee or by a third party, such as a food truck.
  • Casinos may no longer provide drink service on the casino floor.
  • If a club does not sell food, either directly or through a concessionaire, it cannot use its liquor license.

Enforcement of the order is occurring through the Pennsylvania State Police and local law enforcement, the Liquor Control Board, and the Department of Agriculture.

The full PLCB guidance can be found here.

Safa Ashrafi is an associate attorney in the Business Services group. She advises on general business and real estate matters across several industries.