Earlier this year, Governor Tom Wolf signed a bill into law that allows the PLCB to immediately take away a licensed establishment’s ability to sell and serve alcohol when the PLCB finds certain requirements are not met.
This complaint law — Act 44 of 2017 — addresses violations related to health licenses, use of unlicensed areas, seating, and food issues. Cases are handled on a case-by-case basis. Residents and community members concerned about an establishment could file complaints about a licensee by sending an email to the PLCB.
According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the authority expansion was developed to allow the PLCB “to tackle so-called ‘Stop-n-Go’ stores in the Philadelphia area, where bottles of beer are sold without the food or seating their restaurant or eating-place licenses required.”
A licensee compliance program was developed by the PLCB and can be helpful to establishments to stay in compliance.
In January 2018, the PLCB began unannounced on-site investigations of licensees based upon complaints received.
When the PLCB finds a deficiency as a result of an on-site inspection, the investigator will notify the licensee of the deficiency or problem and suspend operating privileges. The licensee will then have the opportunity to resolve the issue to regain operating privileges upon re-inspection. In cases where the PLCB refuses to reinstate operating privileges because of a continued or unaddressed deficiency, the licensee may request a hearing before Commonwealth Court.
In the past, the PLCB could only challenge an establishment’s license when it was up for renewal.