Bars and restaurants have been reeling from the pandemic and the state’s efforts to contain it. The Wolf administration has imposed occupancy limits and other rules, including a prohibition on bar seating and a requirement that alcohol be served with food, that state health officials say are necessary to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
Pennsylvania, like many other states, is dealing with a fall resurgence of COVID-19.
Bar and restaurant owners have been fighting the restrictions for months, saying the Wolf administration has no evidence they’re responsible for rising case numbers. Industry officials have warned that thousands of establishments are in danger of closing permanently without relief from the state.
Chuck Moran, executive director of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association, said in a written statement Thursday that “while licensing fee help is part of the solution, much more needs to be done” to help bars and restaurants stay afloat.
Last week, Wolf vetoed a Republican-sponsored bill that would have let restaurants and bars reopen at up to full capacity, saying it would have increased the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks. Wolf has vetoed a series of GOP bills designed to eliminate or water down his pandemic restrictions.
Wolf said the virus forced his hand, but he stressed he remains committed to supporting bars and restaurants financially during the pandemic.