Gov. Wolf signs bill temporarily allowing cocktails to-go for licensed businesses

Governor Tom Wolf signed a bill Thursday that will allow for the sale of cocktails to-go for licensed businesses in Pennsylvania that lost more than a quarter of their average monthly sales during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bill, which was introduced by  Rep. Perry Warren, D-Bucks, will amend the Liquor Code to clarify the process for a referendum on whether to allow for the sale of liquor in their municipality in a primary, municipal or general election.


“This new temporary rule creates more business for bars and restaurants when they need it, helps to meet customer demand and supports social distancing,” said Governor Wolf. “As we approach the holiday weekend, I encourage all Pennsylvanians to remember to drink responsibly.”

The law applies to bars, restaurants and hotels that have lost 25 percent of average monthly total sales during the COVID-19 emergency. The beverages must be sold in containers with a secure lid in quantities from 4 oz. to 64 oz. before 11 p.m.

An additional seal is required on the straw opening of a lid. Within 60 days, bars and restaurants must use a transaction scan device to verify a consumer’s age if the person appears to be younger than 35 years of age.


"Our local restaurants are working hard to feed our communities during this difficult time,” said Rep. Warren. “Act 21 both streamlines the process for residents to decide whether to permit alcohol sales in a ‘dry’ municipality and allows restaurants to add another product for their customers for curbside pickup and takeout during this crisis. I thank Governor Wolf and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for supporting this bill."

The temporary rule expires after the COVID-19 disaster emergency ends and a business reaches 60 percent capacity, according to the governor's office.

Items that cannot be sold include: 

  • Mixed drinks containing wine or beer
  • Unopened bottles of liquor
  • Gallon jugs of cocktails
  • Unopened ready-to-drink prepackaged cocktails
  • Straight liquor


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