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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: August 11, 2020 01:02 PM
From: Senator Patrick J. Stefano
To: All Senate members
Subject: Restaurant and Tavern Restriction Relief Package
In the near future, I intend to introduce a package of bills to offer relief to Pennsylvania Restaurants and Taverns.
This industry has been continuously working to observe and follow all the various guidelines and regulations issued by the Governor, the Department of Health, and the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.  From the beginning, they recognized the need to play a role in mitigating the spread of COVID-19.  Despite making every conceivable effort to operate safely, they have faced increasingly burdensome restrictions. 
Seeking much-needed relief, the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association and the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage & Tavern Association recently offered several legislative recommendations to allow its businesses to get back to doing what they do best; safely serving their customers.
This package of bills incorporates many of the recommendations offered.
It has been over three weeks since the Governor unilaterally announced additional restrictions on the liquor licensee community on July 15th.  This continuous targeting of a specific industry is inconceivable and has no basis in science or data.  
The Independent Fiscal Office has estimated that Pennsylvania’s foodservice industry has lost over 134,000 workers this year.  Additionally, the House Majority Policy Committee recently received testimony that under these current restrictions, Pennsylvania can expect the permanent closing of 7,500 restaurants, resulting in the loss of 175,000 jobs. 

I hope that you will consider joining me in co-sponsoring this legislation.  If you have any questions regarding this information, please contact Jake Gery in my office at jgery@pasen.gov

Document #1

Introduced as SB1302

Description: Removing the 25% Occupancy Requirement

This legislation will remove the restriction that all businesses in the retail food services industry may only accommodate up to 25% of their state fire-code minimum occupancy for indoor dining.  These establishments will still be required to maintain social distancing by either 6 feet or a physical barrier.

Document #2

Introduced as SB1299

Description: Removing the Food Requirement and Ban on Bar Service

This legislation will remove the restriction that patrons must purchase a meal to buy alcoholic beverages for on-premise consumption.  Additionally, it will eliminate the prohibition on bar service, both for food and beverages, as long as social distancing or physical barriers are in place and that patrons remain seated while eating and drinking.

Document #3

Introduced as SB1300

Description: Expanding Outdoor Dining to Non-Contiguous Areas

This legislation will allow licensees to expand its outdoor licensed premises to non-contiguous areas within 250 feet of the licensee for outdoor dining.

Document #4

Introduced as SB1301

Description: License Renewal Fee Waiver

This legislation will waive all license renewal and permit fees that are paid by restaurants and taverns for one year from the date of implementation.