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Pennsylvania Governor Issues Additional Updated Guidance for Hospitality Businesses Conducting In-Person Service (Second Update)

Recently, Governor Wolf and the PLCB issued guidance for hospitality businesses beginning to serve customers inside (green) or outside (green and yellow). We covered that guidance in our last blog post, “Pennsylvania Governor Issues Updated Guidance for Hospitality Businesses Conducting In-Person Service.”

Governor Wolf released updated guidance addressing some of the issues that were presented when the previous guidance was put into action. This blog post will simply outline those changes and the full guidance can be found here.

The changes from the previous guidance include the following:

Indoor Seating for Restaurant, Retail Dispenser, and Hotel Licensees

  • Maximum indoor occupancy limits are determined by comparing Method 1 against Method 2, the most restrictive calculation method governs

    • Method 1:

      • If there is a known fire capacity number, the licensee should decrease that amount by 50%; OR

      • If the fire capacity number is not known, 24 people are permitted per 1,000 square feet

    • Method 2:

      • Determined by arranging the tables so that no customer at one table is less than six feet away from a customer at another table


      • Fire Code Capacity Known

        • Method 1: Licensee has a known fire code capacity of 50 persons, reducing this number by 50% would equate to 25 persons

        • Method 2: Licensee arranges the tables so that no customer at one table is less than six feet away from a customer at another table, leaving the licensee with the ability to accommodate 30 persons

        • Which method governs?

          • Method 1 because it is more restrictive (25 persons vs. 30 persons)

      • Fire Code Capacity Unknown

        • Method 1: Licensee’s building is 2,000 square feet; using the 24 persons per 1,000 square feet ratio, the building could accommodate 48 persons

        • Method 2: Licensee arranges the tables so that no customer at one table is less than six feet away from a customer at another table, leaving the licensee with the ability to accommodate 30 persons

        • Which method governs?

          • Method 2 because it is more restrictive (30 persons vs. 48 persons)

  • Miscellaneous

    • If a licensee provides seating for on-premises consumption of alcohol, then they must also provide for on-premises consumption of food in accordance with their license requirements

    • Standing in a bar area is not permitted, alcohol service is limited to table or bar service (except golf courses) and no more than four customers with a common relationship may sit together at a bar, all other bar patrons or groups must be separated by six feet

    • If live music is being provided, all existing restrictions on entertainment remain (permits, noise ordinances, etc.)

In-Person Guidance for Clubs and Catering Clubs

  • Outdoor seating (yellow)

    • No more than four customers sitting together

    • No more than 25 persons for a discrete event

    • A minimum of six feet or a physical barrier between customers

  • Green

    • Food sales are permitted, but not required, at club locations

    • Licensees are encouraged to suspend the operation of amenities and congregate areas non-essential to the preparation and service of food or beverages such as child play areas, interactive games, and video arcades, but it is not required

Breweries, Limited Wineries, Distilleries, and Limited Distilleries

  • The new rules applicable to restaurant, retail dispenser, and hotel licensees are likewise applicable to manufacturing licensees serving on-premises (listed above)

This blog post was written by Pennsylvania Summer Associate, Benjamin MacLuckie, who is currently enrolled at Temple University Beasley School of Law in Philadelphia. Ben received his Bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, in Environmental Science from Widener University, where he earned Dean’s List, the Widener University Science Award, and the Clinton Global Initiative Award.

©2020 Norris McLaughlin P.A., All Rights ReservedNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 181


About this Author

Matthew B. Andersen Corporate Business & Liquor Law Attorney Norris Mclaughlin Law Firm Pennsylvania

Matthew B. Andersen concentrates his practice on business law and liquor law.

In his liquor law practice, Matt works with all tiers of the alcohol industry, advising manufacturers, retailers, and wholesalers.  Matt assists breweries, distilleries, wineries, wholesalers, distributors, restaurants, and hotels on obtaining and transferring liquor licenses, obtaining state and federal manufacturing permits and licensing, complying with federal/state liquor regulations and laws, providing transactional counseling, and defending citations and protests...

Theodore Zeller Attorney Norris Law Firm

Theodore J. Zeller III has extensive experience in liquor law, regulatory licensing, commercial transactions, real estate transactions, and litigation.

Chair of the firm’s Liquor Law Practice Group, Ted was lead counsel in a beer rights case brought against the world’s largest brewers and is now General Counsel to D.G. Yuengling & Son, Inc.

Ted’s lobbying efforts helped change various laws under the Pennsylvania Liquor Code. In 2010, Ted testified before the Senate Law and Justice Committee on behalf of Yuengling Brewery concerning House Bill 291, which addresses the distribution of brewed beverages in Pennsylvania.

In 2011, Ted authored portions of two different bills that were enacted into law.  The bills helped small brewers by allowing more efficient and cost effective brand registration, as well as altered the package laws for brewery licenses.  He also appeared before the House Liquor Committee with the Brewers of Pennsylvania in the Privatization Hearings. Most recently, his efforts helped change brewery regulations to allow for taprooms and he authored the Malt Beverage Tax Excise Credit legislation. Further, he has written extensively about Acts 39 and 166.

Ted counsels clients on the acquisition of liquor licenses and coordinates liquor license transactions with other practice areas, such as real estate, business law, financing, tax law, intellectual property, and litigation.  Known throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, he also represents beer interests on a national level and advises breweries and wholesalers on state regulatory matters involving beer distribution and franchise laws. He regularly prepares distribution agreements for his clients and coordinates state and federal licensing for manufacturing and national distribution.

Ted has tried multiple cases in county and federal court, including jury trials, and hundreds of cases before arbitration panels, district justices, and administrative law judges. He is a member of the Pennsylvania Cider Guild and is General Counsel to the Brewers of Pennsylvania and represents alcohol interests in every category. Ted has helped numerous start-up breweries, wineries, distilleries, and retailers.

Ted was named a 2019 Pennsylvania Trailblazer by The Legal Intelligencer and made a cameo appearance in “Undercover Billionaire,” Episode 1 -2, as himself giving advice on how to build a brewery.

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