Skip to comments.Bill relaxing restrictions on restaurants and bars passes Pa. Senate
Posted on 09/22/2020 3:31:04 PM PDT by lightman
Legislation won state Senate approval on Tuesday that would relax some of the restrictions imposed on Pennsylvanias restaurants and bars that have forced some of these establishments to close for good.
House Bill 2513 would set minimum capacity for restaurants and taverns at a minimum of 50% and would allow them to go beyond that if their premises allows while complying with social distancing, masks and other safety precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state Department of Health.
Further, it would remove Gov. Tom Wolfs administrations ban on bar services, allowing patrons to once again sit at the bar. It also would remove his requirement for meal purchases when buying an alcoholic beverage.
The bill, which passed the Senate by a bipartisan 43-6 vote, now must return to the House for concurrence on changes the Senate made. Its earlier version, sponsored by Rep. Garth Everett, R-Lycoming County, passed the House in May by a 117-85 vote, with limited Democratic support.
This action by the Senate comes a day after the governors administration raised the capacity limit on indoor dining from 25% to 50% if they fill out a self-certification document. His administration also extended the hours when alcohol can be purchased to 11 p.m., from 10 p.m., but customers must finish their last drink by midnight.
Sen. Pat Stefano, R-Fayette County, who chairs the Senate Law and Justice Committee, said this bill will provide assistance to the food service industry that has been hindered by what he called the Wolf Administrations arbitrary and burdensome regulations and restrictions to control the spread of COVID-19.
"Over the past six months, I have spoken with hundreds of owners of restaurants and taverns, hotels, producers, and event venues. They have all echoed the same message; no business in this industry can sustain operations at the current capacity, Stefano said in his remarks on the Senate floor.
He noted the states Independent Fiscal Offices estimation that more than 134,000 food service workers lost their job this year.
He said this bill will allow businesses to strike a balance between ensuring safety and ensuring survival.
Sen. Kristen Phillips-Hill, R-York County, said in a statement, 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.
Sen. Art Haywood, D-Philadelphia, was one of the six Democrats to oppose the bill. He said he recognizes the suffering the pandemic-related restrictions have had on restaurants and bars and that alcohol sales make up a significant proportion of revenue for restaurants. However, he also noted that how COVID-19 has contributed to the deaths of many of his neighbors.
He said none of the restaurant and bar workers he has spoken with asked for the expansion of the rules that this bill provides. Instead, Haywood said they have expressed fear that patrons will show up not wearing masks and Then what are they to do? Theyre not TSA officers. They dont have any weapons or any other weapons to protect themselves.
Haywood said state Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine has indicated she is willing to consider further accommodations to help restaurants and bars as the public health risk subsides.
For now, he said, Further opening may only exacerbate the pandemic and put us in a position where we have more community spread."
Meanwhile, Chuck Moran, executive director of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association, thanked the Senate for its passage of the bill He said the industry he represents continues to play its role in battling the coronavirus.
It has been the tip of the spear since day one of the battle, and has sacrificed the most of any industry, Moran said. Industry casualties are mounting as more establishments close their doors and employees lose their jobs. The industry and its employees desperately need this type of help. HB 2513 is a safe step in the right direction."
The House is coming into session on Wednesday when it could consider a concurrence vote on the Senate-amended version of the bill.
Override of school sports bill veto scheduled for tomorrow.
Tommie is having a VERY bad week.
He might even cry.
Please ping me with articles of interest.
FReepmail me to be added to the list.
Didnt a judge rule that PA lockdown was unconstitutional? If that is the case, cant these businesses just reopen based on the judge’s ruling?
‘He might even cry.’
I doubt it; he’s had his fling, his fun in the sun...even someone as obviously stupid as he is knows it has to end sometime...
I was taught that government couldn’t they’ll us what to do.. basically?
They have to pass a law to allow us to do business that we were doing a year ago?
Is that even called a law?
Now the legislature needs to over ride the state supreme court on it’s crazy mail in rule. The legislature can over ride under PA law without any signature from the Governor.
The ruling was for company closures and the rule ‘life sustaining” crap and the different rules for 25 people one place and 250 another place. the bar resaurant case is still pending.
School sport bill is moot at this point. Limiting how many people can be at something was voided by federal lawsuit ruling last week, and just today they ordered they will not allow Emperor Wolfs mandates to be enforced while the appeals are going on.
And Wolfs mandates will never survive appeal.
So while this bill will pass and override his veto, they cannot enforce limiting how many people can attend an event anyway.
I truly wish the PA Governor a really, really, terrible political and judicial week.
Wolf and his he-chick Rick Levine will try to find any way they can to make sure you’re sequestered and miserable. The way to end that is with two lengths of rope and a couple of stout oaks.
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