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Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board Issues Guidance to Licensees Regarding Operations in the Green Phase of COVID-19 Recovery


Harrisburg – Supplementing guidance issued by Governor Tom Wolf for businesses in the restaurant industry, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board today issued additional information for licensees operating in counties that have transitioned into the green phase of COVID-19 recovery and reopening, informing them of permissible and impermissible activities.

The PLCB guidance for licensees in green counties is summarized below.

  • Indoor seating in green counties is allowed but not required for restaurant, retail dispenser and hotel licensees. Seating is limited to the lesser of 50% of the stated fire capacity or 12 people per 1,000 square feet. 
  • If a restaurant, retail dispenser and hotel licensee chooses to provide seating for on-premises consumption of alcohol, then they must also provide for on-premises consumption of food, and all other directives in the Governor’s office guidance (six feet or a barrier between patrons, no standing at a bar, dining parties limited to four or fewer customers with a common relationship, etc.) must be followed. 
  • Outside seating in both licensed and unlicensed locations is permitted. The same restrictions imposed on indoor seating apply to outdoor seating as well. 
  • If the outside area of a restaurant, retail dispenser and hotel licensees is licensed, then the service of food and alcohol there is permitted. If the outside area is not licensed, then service of food is permitted, but the service of alcohol there is not permitted. However, 
    • Patrons may purchase up to 192 ounces of beer to go on the licensed premises, then carry it to and consume it on the unlicensed service area.  
    • If the licensee holds a wine expanded permit, then patrons may also purchase up to 3 liters of wine on the licensed premises, then consume it on the unlicensed service area. 
    • If the licensee qualifies to sell prepared beverages and mixed drinks to go, then a patron may purchase a prepared beverage and mixed drink of between 4 and 64 ounces in a closed container on the licensed premises, open the container once they leave the licensed premises, and consume it on the unlicensed service area.  
  • Holders of club and catering club licenses may allow members to be served on the licensed premises but must follow the same social distancing rules that apply to restaurants. Clubs and catering clubs cannot sell any alcohol for off-premises consumption.
  • Manufacturers such as breweries, limited wineries, distilleries, and limited distilleries may also offer food and drink for on-premises consumption, following the same rules as restaurants.
The PLCB regulates the distribution of beverage alcohol in Pennsylvania, operates nearly 600 wine and spirits stores statewide, and licenses 20,000 alcohol producers, retailers, and handlers. The PLCB also works to reduce and prevent dangerous and underage drinking through partnerships with schools, community groups, and licensees. Taxes and store profits – totaling nearly $18.5 billion since the agency’s inception – are returned to Pennsylvania’s General Fund, which finances Pennsylvania’s schools, health and human services programs, law enforcement, and public safety initiatives, among other important public services. The PLCB also provides financial support for the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement, the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, other state agencies, and local municipalities across the state. For more information about the PLCB, visit
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