Proponents of a House Bill leaving committee hope it might serve as the solution to rising costs for Pennsylvania’s restaurants and bars, according to the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association.
The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association (PLBTA) issued a statement supporting the Pennsylvania House Liquor Control Committee’s voted Tuesday to move House Bill 1160 out of committee.
The vote was unanimously in favor of the measure, whose primary sponsor is Rep. Napoleon Nelson, D-Montgomery. The bill is seen by proponents as aiding the state’s family-owned bars, taverns, and licensed restaurants as they seek to recover from restrictions placed upon them during the pandemic.
Under Rep. Nelson’s bill, liquor licensees would be able to hold an unlimited number of off-premises catering events beyond 2024. Act 87 of 2021 sunsets at the end of 2024, and if allowed to sunset, the state would revert back to liquor codes limiting the number of off-premises catering events.
HB 1160 would remove the sunset date.
Nelson said that while the pandemic emergency is lessening, many Pennsylvania restaurants and bars continue to struggle.
“New hurdles have appeared with raising costs due to inflation and supply chain issues along with labor shortages,” Nelson said in a statement. “We need to do all we can to help these businesses adapt and remain flexible.”
Chuck Moran, executive director of the PLBTA, said the organization fully supports Nelson’s bill.
“The past decade has been a financially difficult one for family-owned taverns, bars, and licensed restaurants,” said Moran. “First, the industry lost the exclusive right to sell six-packs to go, resulting in significant loss of revenue. This was followed by pandemic restrictions that closed indoor dining. Then recovery efforts were hampered by supply chain issues, inflation, and a lack of workers.
“Each of these have acted as a gut punch to drinking establishments statewide. The time has come to give these small businesses hope that they can prosper and make it on their own in the future.”