Phillips-Hill votes to remove governor’s unilateral restrictions on restaurants, bars, clubs

HARRISBURG – Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York) voted in support of legislation on Tuesday that would provide bars, restaurants, breweries, wineries, distilleries and event venues with much-needed relief from statewide restrictions imposed by Governor Wolf.

“Our locally owned restaurants, taverns and social clubs have been hit the hardest by unfair restrictions dating back to March. The sweeping shutdown measures have been a one-size-fits-all approach with limited data and very little notice, or explanation provided to these small business owners,” Phillips-Hill said. “Instead of burdening businesses with mandates that aren’t backed by evidence or science, this proposal will ease restrictions and allow businesses to follow best practices and guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control.”

House Bill 2513 would allow food and beverage establishments and event venues to operate at a minimum of 50 percent for indoor dining while adhering to social distancing consistent with guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The legislation would also allow those establishments to increase capacity to above 50 percent should the CDC deem it safe, or should the venue have appropriate physical barriers.

The measure also provides additional flexibility for the Liquor Control Board to temporarily approve of outdoor seating within 250 feet of the main licensed building operated by the liquor license holder.

Finally, it would remove the mandate that an establishment must serve a meal in order to purchase an alcoholic beverage for on-premise consumption.

“These small businesses are critical employers and have been unfairly targeted by this governor while corporate owned big box stores operate with no restrictions, time limits or arbitrary metrics. The Senate sent a very loud and bipartisan voice to the governor that his unilateral mandates unfairly target these entities,” she added.

The Senate of Pennsylvania overwhelmingly approved the measure with a bipartisan vote of 43-6. The legislation heads to the House of Representatives for its consideration.