Harrisburg, PA – Although police have been checking at bars and restaurants to make sure that they’re following COVID-19 regulations, they’ve only issued warnings so far, no actual citations.

State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited thousands of liquor establishments over the past week to make sure social distancing and mask rules were in place. They issued 77 warnings total throughout the state, two of which were in the Punxsutawney area.

Compliance checks are unannounced and can occur anywhere in the commonwealth, although the focus is on areas experiencing higher coronavirus transmission rates, like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, which had many more warnings issues.

Please follow the guidelines when you go to a bar or restaurant, and don’t put the small business owner or employee in a tough spot where they have to ask you to leave. They’re trying to do what’s best for their business and everyone’s health and safety. Police are focusing on issuing warnings first, but any eventual citations could put the establishment’s liquor license at risk.

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Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvania State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited thousands of licensed liquor establishments from Monday, July 6 through Sunday, July 12 as part of its regular work to ensure businesses are abiding by COVID-19 mitigation requirements that include social distancing, masking, and other health and safety requirements of the liquor code.

Liquor control enforcement officers conducted compliance checks at 4,360 licensed liquor establishments and issued 77 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. Compliance checks are unannounced and can occur anywhere in the commonwealth, although the focus is on areas experiencing higher coronavirus transmission rates.

“Our officers continue to ensure licensed liquor establishments are taking the necessary steps to keep their customers and employees safe during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Major Jeffrey Fisher, director of the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement.

Among other requirements, all businesses and employees in the restaurant and retail food service industry authorized to conduct in-person activities are mandated to:

  • Require all customers to wear masks while entering, exiting or otherwise traveling throughout the restaurant or retail food service business (face masks may be removed while seated). Further, employees are required to wear masks at all times.
  • Provide at least six feet between parties at tables or physical barriers between customers where booths are arranged back to back.
  • Ensure maximum occupancy limits for indoor and outdoor areas are posted and enforced.
Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement | July 6-12, 2020
ENFORCEMENT OFFICE TOTAL LICENSEE CHECKS WARNINGS RELATED TO COVID-19 MITIGATION EFFORTS NOTICES OF VIOLATION RELATED TO COVID-19 MITIGATION EFFORTS
1-Philadelphia 1,343 4 0
2-Wilkes-Barre 960 1 0
3-Harrisburg 53 24 0
4-Pittsburgh 990 18 0
5-Altoona 166 0 0
6-Williamsport 97 11 0
7-Punxsutawney 11 2 0
8-Erie 223 9 0
9-Allentown 517 8 0
TOTALS 4,360 77 0

Violators may face administrative citation by the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement. Continued violations put an establishment’s liquor license at risk, either through the citation process or upon application for renewal. More information is available on the enforcement page of the state police COVID-19 portal. Statistics are updated weekly.

Complaints regarding licensees not complying with COVID-19 mitigation mandates may be directed to the BLCE at 1-800-932-0602 or reported through the BLCE’s online complaint form.