(The Center Square) – For the first time in state history, Pennsylvania residents can order cocktails to go from bars and restaurants crippled by pandemic restrictions.

Gov. Tom Wolf said during a news conference Tuesday that he would sign House Bill 327, legislation that permits establishments that have lost more than 25 percent of their monthly revenue during the COVID-19 shut down to sell limited quantities of alcohol to go.  

David Wojnar, vice president of state government relations for the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, applauded the move and said the group will continue working with lawmakers to find other paths of recovery.

“This measure will be a valuable economic lifeline that will help Pennsylvania businesses struggling with financial hardships during this pandemic,” he said. “Unfortunately, the path to recovery will last well beyond the end of this crisis.” 

A National Restaurant Association study estimates that the state’s food service industry lost more than $1.8 billion in sales in April, and 96 percent of operators have laid off or furloughed their staff since Wolf issued shut down orders in March.

Staff Reporter

Christen Smith follows Pennsylvania's General Assembly for The Center Square. She is an award-winning reporter with more than a decade of experience covering state and national policy issues for niche publications and local newsrooms alike.