Cocktails To-Go Approved in Pennsylvania
Cocktails to-go allowed in Pennsylvania, under these conditions…
Pennsylvania has joined many other states around the country in allowing restaurants and bars to serve take-out cocktails. With bipartisan backing, Governor Tom Wolf signed this temporary measure. The new law applies to hotels and licensed restaurants and taverns that have lost at least 25% of their average monthly sales as a result of restrictions placed on them during the covid pandemic. The hope is that this new flexibility will allow restaurants not only to stay in business but to possibly hire back additional employees that may have been furloughed.
The drinks must be a combination of spirits and mixers and must be made on the premises. Wine and cocktails made with wine are not included.
The beverages must be served in sealed containers no smaller than 4 ounces and no larger than 64 ounces. A sealed container is one that prevents consumption without removal of the lid – such as drinking through a straw or sipping hole. Despite the size limitations, there are no restrictions on the number of drinks that can be sold to one person. The drinks cannot be consumed on the premises and daily sales are prohibited after 11 pm.
Drinks to-go cannot be delivered. And a transaction scan device must be used on anyone that appears to be under the age of 35 when the order is picked up.
Open container laws still apply to drivers and passengers
Despite being sold in sealed containers, these cocktails to-go will be considered open containers under Pennsylvania’s Vehicle Code. This means that the containers must be transported in a part of the vehicle that is not occupied by the driver or passengers, such as the trunk of a car or the living quarters of an RV. Notably, open containers laws are in effect whether your car is moving or parked.
A violation of the open container law is considered a summary offense. It can result in a maximum fine of $300 and/or up to 90 days in jail. In some instances, a license suspension is also possible. Passengers are not exempt from this law and can face substantial fines for being in violation.
This temporary change to allow cocktails to-go will only remain in effect until a restaurant is operating at 60% of occupancy capacity or more.
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