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By in Latest News Comments Off on Taverns, Licensed Restaurants Raise Questions on Liquor Privatization Provisions

Taverns, Licensed Restaurants Raise Questions on Liquor Privatization Provisions

Privatization of Pennsylvania’s liquor business may be a good idea, but the statewide association representing licensed family-owned bars, taverns and restaurants has questions about how the State House bill to do so could impact their businesses and their customers before they can support such a change.

Because of those questions, the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association (PLBTA) is taking no position on HB 2272, sponsored by Rep. Natalie Mihalek (R, Allegheny), but instead is offering to help plan for privatization so that small businesses don’t suffer unintended consequences if the legislation and constitutional amendment pass.

Tavern and restaurant owners are concerned that the proposal is too simple for a complex state liquor system. The main text of the bill reads, “The Commonwealth shall not manufacture or sell at wholesale or retail, liquor.” Beyond that, the bill gives the state 18 months to get out of the liquor sales business.

The PLBTA Board of Directors recently agreed that the state should not be in the wholesale and retail liquor businesses, but said it is critical that, if the state does exit liquor sales, it be done in a way that protects small business taverns and licensed restaurants and their customers through meaningful protections and liquor code changes.

“Our Members have really taken a number of gut punches in recent years between Acts 39 and 166 of 2016 followed up by COVID mitigation orders, variants, supply chain issues, and workforce problems,” said Chuck Moran, executive director of the Harrisburg-based trade association. “The last thing any family-owned tavern or restaurant needs now is a change in the system that puts these small businesses at yet another disadvantage at a time when they are already struggling to recover and stay open.”

The PLBTA says a privatization effort should address problematic and antiquated liquor codes, and should be done with the public understanding that that small business taverns and restaurants and their customers will benefit with a different wholesale and retail arrangement.

Moran says his members in philosophy favor privatization but are concerned that without meaningful protections for small businesses, privatization could place them at a disadvantage compared to large multi-state chains.

“We anticipate well-funded, major players including those from out-of-state would view HB 2272 passage as an opportunity to have a ‘redo’ of the liquor code,” Moran says. “As such, beyond privatizing wholesale and retail sales, the eventual privatization plan could impact all phases of liquor control, licensing, and supply.”

Customer convenience is also an issue for the PLBTA, as it has been seeking various customer related changes already, including increased discounts, cocktails-to-go and modernization of Happy Hour regulations.

According to Moran, the PLBTA Board came to its position after thoughtful discussion and a review of input from its members, positions of other associations, and political realities.

 

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The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association is the statewide political voice for small business taverns and licensed restaurants. Based in Harrisburg, the Association formed after Prohibition in 1941, reorganized in 2019, and today advocates for best practices and rights within the industry as well as best experiences for patrons. To learn more, visit www.pataverns.com or follow the Association on Twitter via @TavernPA.

 

By in Latest News Comments Off on Testimony: SB 983, SB 984, and other forms of tavern aid

Testimony: SB 983, SB 984, and other forms of tavern aid

Tom Tyler, owner of McStew’s Irish Sports Pub in Levittown

The following is testimony given by Thomas Tyler, president of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association, on January 26, 2022, in front of the Pennsylvania Senate Community, Economic, and Recreational Development Committee. The hearing was held to discuss other forms of aid for small businesses to help them through the COVID era. Mr. Tyler is also the owner of McStew’s Irish Sports Pub in Bucks County and a committed member of Organized Taverns through the PLBTA.

 

Chairman Yudichak, Chairwoman Cappelletti, and members of the Committee, thank you for allowing the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association to provide testimony concerning legislation to support the economic recovery of small businesses negatively impacted by past COVID mitigation orders.

Also, I want to acknowledge my establishment’s state senator. Thank you, Sen. Tomlinson.

As background, the Tavern Association is the statewide voice for small business taverns and licensed restaurants. We represent family-owned taverns, pubs, and licensed restaurants across the state. Most of our Members own “R” or “H” licenses while some may have an “E” or even a club license. For the most part, we are your local bars, taverns, pubs, and licensed restaurants. We do not actively recruit large chains, grocery stores, or convenience stores which also may have R licenses.

Our average Member has only 16 employees, possibly the smallest of the small businesses within the hospitality industry.

In terms of business, our average Member makes a living primarily from alcohol sales. Based on our Membership studies, about 63 percent of their business is alcohol sales including liquor and malt beverages and 37 percent of sales are from food. This is a major reason why the events of recent years have created financial hardships for my membership.

Many people don’t realize that COVID was the second financial gut punch our Members took in recent years. The first came a few years earlier through Act 166 of 2016 when the tavern and licensed restaurant industry lost the exclusive rights to sell six-packs to go.

A study conducted by the Tavern Association in 2019 to measure the impact this Act had on our Members discovered that 75 percent of our members saw a drop in six-packs-to-go sales, with about 30 percent losing about 20 percent in beer sales.

And other changes to liquor laws related to that Act which promoted specific segments of the alcoholic beverage industry tilted the playing field and resulted in even more lost revenue for our small family-owned businesses.

And, then came the pain of COVID-19 closures in 2020, which continued off and on through part of 2021, followed by related issues that continue today such as variants, supply shortages, and workforce issues. As many as 20 percent of our small business bars and taverns found themselves closed for business.

Our bars, taverns and restaurants greatly appreciate the efforts and intentions of Sen. Aument, and the other cosponsors of SB 983 and SB 984. There’s no question that our members need support from the state to recover from the losses they’ve suffered while complying with state edicts over the last two years.

Needless to say, we don’t believe any small business will complain about receiving a no-interest loan as a result of SB 983 or receiving a grant through SB 984. We support both but offer some thoughts on each.

Regarding SB 983, the Tavern Association supports the concept of interest-free loans being made available. Some of our members will certainly make use of these no interest loans. At the same time, given their already problematic economic situations – and still trying to get back to some form of normalcy, more borrowing may not be a solution for those bars and taverns who have lost income and already dipped into their life savings to stay open.

And, regarding SB 984, again, the premise is sound. Grants for our members who did not receive grants previously – only about one in three did – and basing the grants on lost profits/losses and loss of employees just makes sense. Hopefully, the system for approvals will be improved from our experiences with the state’s CHIRP program or Washington’s Restaurant Relief Fund which sounded good, but left a sour taste in the mouths of many of my Members who applied but received nothing.

I would also note that the other pieces of legislation included in the small business relief package, including changes in Net Operating Loss offsets, waiving fees for retail food and liquor licenses, and the ability to deduct property taxes from owners’ CNI or PIT liability, are all positive steps, and would benefit our members.

Finally, I’d like to share that there are several other bills that would be helpful to our small businesses attempting to climb out of the economic hole created by state actions. Some of these may come to this committee, while others will be addressed elsewhere.

For example:

  • Legislation to increase the liquor discount from 10 percent to 15 percent. This legislation passed the House in 2021 with a unanimous vote. This would be across the board, and have a minimal impact on the PLCB’s profits, but be very meaningful to our members’ cash flow as they struggle to stay afloat financially.
  • Legislation to level the playing field for all licensees, and standardize the rules for amplified sound limits at property lines. Today, one of our members could be fined for ANY sound at their property line – but other licensees do not have the same restrictions. Modification of these rules would help incentivize our members to expand outside, and allow entertainment which attracts consumers.
  • Allow business owners more opportunities to get creative with special promotions and happy hours, opening channels for new specials and specially priced combos. Our Happy Hour laws – like many others in this industry, are a throwback to earlier times, Blue laws, and control, not reflective of today’s consumers or markets. It’s time to allow licensees to make these financial decisions for themselves.
  • And, we would again request you consider mixed drinks to go. Legislation to do this has passed the House twice with 170 votes or more. During the Covid-19 restrictions, this gave our members a small opportunity to maintain cash flow and expand offerings, without any increase in the incidence of liquor related accidents or arrests. According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, 33 states adopted alcohol-to-go programs in the early days of COVID-19. Of those, 15 have extended approval of the programs, and 16 have passed laws enshrining the practice for good, including Among our neighbors, Ohio, Maryland (through 2023), and West Virginia and Delaware continue to allow this, and Delaware is voting on legislation to make it permanent as well. New York Governor Kathy Hochul just called for that state to make mixed drinks to go permanent there. New Jersey passed legislation last year allowing local governments to authorize cocktails to go and open container laws.

Decisions on the small business package and these pending issues are important to our family-owned businesses. Permanence in these rules gives us as small business owners some certainty to start rebuilding our business models. And our customers – your constituents – will benefit as well.

The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association looks forward to working with members of this committee and other senators on these issues.

Thank you again for inviting our Association to testify today. I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have at this time.

 

 

By in Latest News Comments Off on Taverns Tip: Frozen Pipes and Your Insurance

Taverns Tip: Frozen Pipes and Your Insurance

Old Man Winter is right around the corner. In the claims world, we start thinking about frozen pipe claims. Those in the food and beverage industry should also be thinking about frozen pipe claims, and how to prevent them.

Did you know that water damage is the most common cause of insurance claims? Water claims, in general, are almost always preventable. According to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), 37% of all frozen pipe failures occur in basements. All frozen pipes have one thing in common: inadequate heat to keep the water in the pipes and drains above the freezing point.

What are some preventative measures a business owner can take to avoid frozen pipes?

  1. Watch the weather forecast – Technology today can predict, with moderate certainty, most weather conditions. In recent years, we have seen polar vortex conditions forecast for up to two weeks prior to the severe cold weather arriving.
  2. The fall months are a great time to do a winter weather assessment of your property:
    • Exterior inspection for gaps and cracks in the exterior envelope of the building. If there is an opening, then wind can come in, making the space behind the opening colder than anticipated.
    • Consider having your roof inspected for openings around vents, HVAC units, and other protrusions. These openings allow in air and water that can diminish the insulating capabilities of any attic space, where pipes are often located.
    • Interior inspection of all areas of the building. Use your utility drawings, if available, to determine where pipes are located. Open doors to closets and storerooms to determine if they are heated spaces. Look for any light coming in where it should not be.
  3. Implement a winter weather preparedness plan:
    • Caulk and seal any openings, including around doors and windows. Pay close attention to pipes entering the building.
    • Insulate pipes along the perimeter of the building, as well as interior of the structure where the space is not directly heated. This is the best way to keep pipes from freezing, especially if used in conjunction with other weather proofing measures discussed herein.
    • For piping systems that are easily accessible, consider an electrical heating tape. They make self-monitoring tapes that turn on/off automatically whenever it senses the pipe needs more heat.
    • If the building is on a crawl space, close the vents. This will decrease the cold air that can enter and impact any pipes located below the floor.
  4. When sub-zero weather arrives:
    • Leave the heat on and be consistent in the thermostat settings. Any setting of at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit is appropriate to keep your pipes safe. Coverage for frozen pipe damage is dependent upon a business owner doing their best to maintain heat in the entire premises.
    • Open cabinets and interior doors. Pay special attention to spaces behind doors with no heat vent servicing the space.

Frozen pipe losses can be costly but are preventable and with a little due diligence, can be avoided. Please contact your Illinois Casualty Company Agent with any questions or Find an Agent in your area.

The above story was written by Phyllis Galbraith, Property Claims Supervisor, at Illinois Casualty Company. It appeared in the January 2022 edition of Pennsylvania Beverage Media, the official monthly magazine of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association.

Illinois Casualty Company is the exclusive Preferred Business Insurance Company of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association where qualifying Members can save 10% on their businessowners and liquor liability insurance. Among Pennsylvania brokers available to help you with ICC insurance are PLBTA Preferred Insurance Brokers Blue Ridge National and Hospitality Risk Consultants. Blue Ridge National can be reached by calling (484) 477-4950 or emailing Paul Mattus at PMattus@BlueRidgeNational.com. To reach Hospitality Risk Consultants contact Patrick Joliet at (814) 954-8799 or pjoliet@hrcnortheast.com.

By in Latest News Comments Off on Taverns Tip: Biometric Tech Learning From Illinois

Taverns Tip: Biometric Tech Learning From Illinois

Illinois restaurants and bars are facing a new wave of class action lawsuits over their use of biometric information to identify customers and employees. Although Illinois may have the first and strictest set of laws about this type of information, business owners across the country should be prepared for their states to follow suit.

Biometric information—think facial recognition, fingerprints, and retinal scans—can be incredibly useful for bars and restaurants seeking to increase profits. With this data, customers (and their past orders or preferences) can be instantly recognized.

Clubs that offer memberships can ensure that membership privileges are being enjoyed by the actual paying member (versus someone to whom a membership card or key fob has been “loaned”). Employers can have employees clock in or access a POS system with a fingerprint, which can help prevent employee theft and fraud. Bars can quickly scan faces and IDs for underaged drinkers and banned patrons.

However, believing there is too much uncertainty surrounding the privacy rights of individuals’ biometric data, the Illinois legislature passed the Biometric Information Privacy Act in 2007. Known as “BIPA”, the act seeks to protect data that is truly unique to the individual—and unlike a compromised social security number, cannot be changed.

BIPA went largely ignored for many years until 2015, when an Illinois Supreme Court decision allowed a 15-year-old to recover damages after his fingerprint was improperly used for admission to an amusement park.

What followed was a staggering 3,233% increase in litigation by employees and customers in just six years. Plaintiffs filing these class actions—many against small businesses—seek $1,000 per violation (plus costs and attorney fees) if the BIPA violation was negligent, $5,000 if it was intentional or reckless, or more if they can show higher actual damages stemming from a business’s failure to follow BIPA’s strict requirements.

What are BIPA’s requirements? In short, a business cannot collect biometric information without written consent, and it must disclose specific written details of how it intends to use, retain, protect, and ultimately destroy that information.
Technology can be a lifesaver for businesses looking to improve efficiency, especially when faced with staffing challenges as the coronavirus pandemic subsides. But it can expose a business to substantial liability if it is not handled according to the precise letter of the law.

Julia Suiter, Esq.

If you are considering any new software, program, or vendor that might make use of biometric data, consult with an attorney to be certain you are complying with all disclosure, consent, and storage obligations. If the software or program comes with a contract, be sure to carefully read the fine print to avoid unknowingly agreeing to defend and indemnify the vendor for allegations it has violated BIPA as a result of your use of the product.

This story was written by Julia Suiter, Esq., Chief Legal Officer at Illinois Casualty Company, a preferred vendor of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association. It was published in the October 2021 edition of Pennsylvania Beverage Media, the official monthly magazine of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association.

By in Latest News Comments Off on PLBTA Statement on today’s PLCB 2-bottle limit hearing

PLBTA Statement on today’s PLCB 2-bottle limit hearing

Chuck Moran, Executive Director

The following is a statement from Chuck Moran, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association. The comments are the result of today’s legislative hearing held at the state capitol concerning the recent decision of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to limit the sale of certain products as a result of a shortage.

 

Today, the Pennsylvania House Liquor Control Committee in coordination with the Senate Law and Justice Committee held a hearing to learn more about the recent decision by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to place a two-bottle purchase limit per day on 43 products.

For small business taverns and licensed restaurants, the developing situation with liquor availability is yet another thing that the industry must work through as a result of the pandemic while waiting for help that was promised before the budget passed.

Various issues over the past 18 months are hampering recovery efforts. Between the lack of workers to shortages, as well as increased pricing of available supplies, difficulties for the industry continue.

There are several bills at the state capitol including grant funding, noise relief/outdoor seating, and liquor discounting that would help small business taverns and licensed restaurants by easing some pressure.

Now that both committees have learned more about the latest industry issue, our hope is that the state legislature will begin to move legislation to assist with recovery efforts including HB 1497 offered by Rep. Mike Jones.

 

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About the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association

The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association is a statewide association based in Harrisburg, representing small business taverns and licensed restaurants in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Association formed in 1941, reorganized in 2019, and today advocates for best practices and rights within the industry as well as best experiences for patrons.

 

By in Latest News Comments Off on PaTaverns Tip: Are you ready for fall?

PaTaverns Tip: Are you ready for fall?

As the Summer begins to wind down, and schools start to reopen, a question that all tavern and licensed restaurant owners should ask is “Are we ready for the fall?”

Consider the following:

  1. If you hired students for the Summer, there’s a chance that they’ll be leaving for the Fall, or cutting back hours.
  2. If you’re in a college town, you may see an uptick in fake identification cards.
  3. Have you started planning for Fall events that can draw people into your establishment … football games, World Series, Halloween.

So, what can you do to get ready for the Fall?

We recommend you do the following:

  1. Start looking for replacement help now. It’s tough finding good help!
  2. Get that replacement help the RAMP training they’ll need. Remember, Members of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association receive a discount for online RAMP training. Check it out at www.pataverns.com/RAMP
  3. Get the schedules for your hometown high school football team, nearby college teams including non-Division I programs, and the popular pro teams your community follow. Plan staffing appropriately for those days, and remember to have the television sets ready to show the games. Advertise that they can watch the games at your establishment.
  4. What are the non-sporting events in your area that you can tap to encourage patrons to come to your establishment? Homecoming? Halloween? Parades? Fall festivals?
  5. Use your social media channels to get the word out about your Fall special events. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok are tools that should be in your advertising toolbox.
  6. Fall is always a good time to review your business insurances as well. Put that on your to-do list, and don’t forget that qualified Members of the PLBTA can save up to 10% on their businessowners and liquor liability insurance through Illinois Casualty Company.

And, if you’re in a college town, anticipate those fake ID cards by offering the following tips to your management and staff:

  • Bend the card … fake IDs sometimes present a crease in the laminate.
  • Feel the card … fake IDs often feel smoother.
  • Beware of the Trojan Horse … know who you’re hiring as your bouncer and servers. You don’t want the popular frat guy letting all of his brothers in regardless of age.
  • Scanners … use them, but also do a visual. Scanners will help you document the carding which may be useful later. Remember many fake IDs can fool a scanner. Scan, but don’t rely on it alone.
  • Tough questions … ask the owner of the ID card tough questions such as “what’s your zodiac sign” to see if it matches up with their birthday on the ID card. Or ask them “can you tell me the location where you got your driver’s license photo taken?”
  • Student ID … ask if they also have their student ID with them and if you can see it too.

To learn more about fake IDs, we recommend you read a story published in the August 2019 edition of Pennsylvania Beverage Media by clicking here.

 

The above story was republished from the August 2021 edition of Pennsylvania Beverage Media, the official monthly magazine of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association. All Members receive a copy every month as a benefit of Membership. If you’re not a Member, you’re missing out. Consider joining or renewing today by clicking here.

By in Latest News Comments Off on Are You Liable for an Off-Duty Employee’s Conduct?

Are You Liable for an Off-Duty Employee’s Conduct?

 

Most employers assume that they are not responsible for the conduct of their off-duty employees. However, under certain circumstances, an employee’s off-duty conduct can be imputed to the employer.

Consider this example: an off-duty security guard stays at the bar for a drink after their shift ends, and an altercation breaks out. The off-duty security guard, believing that they have a duty to act, decides to assist other members of security to stop the fight. Unfortunately, during the fog of the altercation, the unruly patron is seriously injured at the hands of the off-duty employee. Since the act of breaking up an altercation is arguably foreseeable and is for the benefit of the employer, any negligence on the part of the off-duty security guard could be imputed to the employer.

To help the business owner potentially prevent and avoid these situations, we have included some guidance to navigate this thorny area of the law. By implementing these protective measures, you will likely be in a much better position to defend these types of claims if they arise.

  • As with any area of your business, it is important that you communicate your expectations to your employees. If you do not, they will be left without a guiding compass when problematic situations arise.
  • It is imperative that you explain to every employee when they are hired that they are not allowed to perform any work-related activities when they are off the clock. If an incident does arise, the off-duty employees should be instructed to alert a member of management or security. Once the incident has been resolved, the employee can then provide the proper authorities with their observations and an account of the events that transpired. Off-duty employees should never physically or verbally interject themselves into an altercation.
  • Employees should be instructed to clock out when their shift is over. It is important to have a record keeping system that shows when the employee has clocked in or out. This record could be vital if there is any dispute at the time the injured party asserts a claim.
  • Off-duty employees still in uniform on the premises can cause confusion should an incident occur. If off-duty employees choose to remain on the premises as patrons, they should be instructed to change out of their work uniform to avoid the appearance that the off-duty employee is acting on your behalf.
  • Most importantly, the business should have a surveillance system in place to capture any incident that may arise. A copy of the video should be kept and not recorded over, in case a claim is made. If footage is given to the police, a copy should still be maintained by the business owner.

Find an ICC agent in your area by visiting our website, www.ilcasco.com.

This story appeared in the July 2021 edition of Pennsylvania Beverage Media, the official monthly magazine of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association. It was written by Nick Crosby, Esq., Litigation Counsel, of the Illinois Casualty Company.

Qualifying Members of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association can save up to 10% on their businessowners and liquor liability insurance with Illinois Casualty Company.

 

By in Latest News Comments Off on Statement: PaTaverns applauds PaHouse fixing mixed drinks-to-go bill and (again) passing it

Statement: PaTaverns applauds PaHouse fixing mixed drinks-to-go bill and (again) passing it

The following is a statement from Chuck Moran, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association, concerning today’s vote on HB 1154 in the Pennsylvania House, after it was stripped of a Senate amendment that many viewed as a veto threat.

 

This evening, the Pennsylvania House of Represenatives once again passed HB 1154, sponsored by Rep. Kurt Masser, after stripping the bill of a poison pill that was added in the Pennsylvania Senate recently, and would likely cause a veto by Governor Wolf. This time, the bill passed 170-31.

In its original form that the House passed in late May, 187-14, HB 1154 would allow taverns and licensed restaurants the ability to permanently sell mixed drinks-to-go, like the industry was able during the COVID-19 Emergency Declaration. However, once the bill moved to the state Senate, it was amended to allow “ready-to-drink” cocktails to be sold by beer distributors as well as others. This was viewed by many as a step towards privatization of the state’s liquor system, something that would have caused a veto by the governor.

While some in the industry were ok with the RTD language, the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association stood firm, demanding that the RTD language be removed, while indicating how the RTD language would hurt small business taverns and licensed restaurants. Earlier this afternoon, the House Rules Committee heard the concerns of our Members by removing the RTD language. The bill then moved to the House floor where it enjoyed a favorable vote.

The House did leave in the bill other parts of the Senate amendment that will be helpful as the industry recovers including changes to off-premise catering rules and the continuation of the temporary outdoor extensions.

For the past year, Pennsylvania taverns and licensed restaurants have had the right to sell mixed drinks-to-go on a temporary basis. It was a lifeline to help struggling establishments keep their heads above the water while the government worked to create loans, grants, and other forms of assistance. Many establishments took advantage of this opportunity, while many patrons safely enjoyed professionally mixed drinks in the comfort of their homes while supporting their local taverns and licensed restaurants.

It was a proven success with both licensees and patrons responsibly enjoying this new product. Frankly, for our industry, it was one of the innovations of the year that it made us wonder why they couldn’t do this before. With the success it had, it made sense to allow our establishments to continue offering mixed drinks-to-go to consumers on a permanent basis.

The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Industry urges the Pennsylvania Senate to pass HB 1154 as is. Time is running out before the legislature will adjourn for the Summer, and the industry should be allowed to sell mixed drinks-to-go.

Pennsylvania’s small business taverns and licensed restaurants thank the Members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, who realized the problematic situation that developed, and took brave action today to correct the situation.

We also want to remind the Pennsylvania legislature and governor’s office that Pennsylvania’s hospitality industry is still in a recovery mode despite mitigation orders  removed and COVID statistics decreasing. There are several other bills that could help our Members with their recovery efforts. Pennsylvania’s small business taverns and licensed restaurants encourage the House to move HB 1497. This bill, sponsored by Rep. Mike Jones, would encourage outdoor dining and entertainment by creating fair noise regulations across the retail liquor license community, helping both musicians and establishments.

 

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About the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association

The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association is a statewide association based in Harrisburg, representing small business taverns and licensed restaurants in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Association formed in 1941, reorganized in 2019, and today advocates for best practices and rights within the industry as well as best experiences for patrons.

 

By in Latest News Comments Off on Statement: PaTaverns applauds PaHouse passing mixed drinks-to-go bill

Statement: PaTaverns applauds PaHouse passing mixed drinks-to-go bill

Chuck Moran, Executive Director

The following is a statement from Chuck Moran, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association, concerning today’s passage of HB 1154 in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

Today, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed HB 1154, sponsored by Rep. Kurt Masser, that would allow taverns and licensed restaurants the ability to permanently sell mixed drinks-to-go. The final vote was 187-14. The bill now moves to the Pennsylvania Senate for consideration.

Slightly more than a year ago, the Pennsylvania legislature moved a similar bill to allow such sales on a temporary basis, providing a lifeline to help struggling establishments keep their heads above the water a little longer while the government worked to create loans, grants, and other forms of assistance. Many establishments took advantage of this opportunity, while many patrons safely enjoyed professionally mixed drinks in the comfort of their homes while supporting their local taverns and licensed restaurants.

With the success that this new opportunity had during the past year, it makes sense to allow our establishments to continue offering mixed drinks-to-go to consumers on a permanent basis.

There’s no doubt that 2020 will turn out to be one of the worst years – if not the worst – of anyone’s life. The pandemic and its mitigation orders did considerable damage. Lives, businesses, and jobs were lost as the world got hit with the worst public health crisis in a century. Productivity dropped. Socialization decreased. Simply put, 2020 was not fun for any of us.

However, the pandemic forced many industries to innovate. As crazy as this might sound, one of the innovative breakthroughs and bright spots of the year for our industry was the cocktail-to-go … something so simple that it makes you wonder why licensed establishments couldn’t do this before.

The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association thanks Rep. Masser for taking the lead on this latest legislation. And, we thank the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for passing HB 1154. Our Association encourages the Pennsylvania Senate to take up this bill in a timely manner, and further support small business taverns and licensed restaurants by making mixed drinks-to-go a permanent right of licensed establishments.

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About the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association
The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association is a statewide association based in Harrisburg, representing small business taverns and licensed restaurants in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Association formed in 1941, reorganized in 2019, and today advocates for best practices and rights within the industry as well as best experiences for patrons.

By in Latest News Comments Off on Statement: PaTaverns on Gov. Wolf lifting orders on May 31

Statement: PaTaverns on Gov. Wolf lifting orders on May 31

Chuck Moran, Executive Director

The following is a statement from Chuck Moran, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association, concerning today’s announcement from the Wolf Administration and COVID-19 Joint Task Force that mitigation orders will be listed on May 31.

Today we learned from the Governor’s Office that the Wolf administration in coordination with the COVID-19 Vaccine Joint Task Force will lift mitigation orders with the exception of masking on Monday, May 31, at 12:01 a.m. Masking will continue until 70 percent of Pennsylvanians age 18 and older are fully vaccinated.

Pennsylvania’s small business taverns and licensed restaurants are certainly ready for this change as the past 14 months have been some of the worst in industry history. There are countless stories of financial ruin and jobs lost.

But now the time has come in which we can move into a full recovery mode. It’s time to make the come back greater than the set back.

In recent months, our state legislature and administration have been working with our industry to help it survive and recover. We’re thankful for that assistance but want to remind both chambers and the Governor’s Office that the help shouldn’t stop just because mitigation orders targeting the industry appear to be coming to a close. There’s more work to be done, moving bills to bring back all patrons and rebuild a healthy industry again.

Speaking of patrons, as many tavern owners know, it was the support of patrons ordering take-out or buying gift cards during the roughest days of mitigation orders that allowed many establishments to keep their heads above water. The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association thanks all patrons who supported our Member establishments during the past year.

Finally, the PLBTA thanks all of its Members who stood with the Association as we navigated the past year together. We look forward to continuing to work on behalf of our Member establishments.

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About the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association
The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association is a statewide association based in Harrisburg, representing small business taverns and licensed restaurants in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Association formed in 1941, reorganized in 2019, and today advocates for best practices and rights within the industry as well as best experiences for patrons.