Pennsylvania bans alcohol sales for Thanksgiving eve in effort to slow COVID-19 spread

ByChristie Ileto WPVI logo
Tuesday, November 24, 2020
Pennsylvania Thanksgiving eve alcohol ban upsets business owners
Bars and restaurant owners in the Philadelphia region are reacting to new restrictions that bring a screeching halt to sales on Thanksgiving eve.

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania -- Bars and restaurant owners in the Philadelphia area are reacting to new restrictions that bring a screeching halt to alcohol sales on Thanksgiving eve.

On Monday, Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine ordered the suspension of alcohol sales at all bars and restaurants for one night only in an effort to slow down the rise of COVID-19 cases.

The order comes as 4,762 new cases of COVID-19 were reported on Monday in addition to the 7,075 cases reported Sunday for a two-day total of 11,837. The statewide total is now 314,401.

Businesses say the hits just keep on coming.

"It's a little bit more than salt in the wound, this is our life. We're dealing with real-life consequences," said Matthew Yeck of Gaul & Co. Malt House.

At John Henry's Pub, owner Kathy Kearney got choked up, saying, "It's really hard. It's been tough trying to make those weekly decisions on how to keep your business open."

Levine says the alcohol sales suspension begins at 5 p.m. Wednesday and will stay in effect through 8 a.m. Thanksgiving Day.

In an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine announced a series of orders and advisories during a news conference Monday afternoon.

"Every little bit counts. All the money going out the door, everything incoming, every cent counts. It's going to hurt," added Kearney.

The new restriction hits a bit harder for businesses in Philadelphia, which on Friday lost the ability to serve patrons indoors altogether.

"You're going to have a lot of college kids home. They're going to be hanging out in their basements, apartments," said Jim Kirk, co-owner of Kite and Key.

"I understand the mentality of not having a packed college bar, but we're restaurants," added Matthew Rossi, owner of Nick's Roast Beef.