In the rush to finalize the state budget, legislation that would have provided restaurants with more flexibility and revenue options failed to get to the governor’s desk. House Bill 1154 would have allowed restaurants to continue selling cocktails-to-go and utilizing outdoor space.
Over the past year, many establishments survived with the help of temporary measures passed to provide more flexibility and revenue opportunities, including selling cocktails-to-go and utilizing outdoor space. The legislation would have made these provisions permanent, maintaining support for an industry that is still facing significant challenges.
During the legislative process, the Senate added language to the bill to provide other establishments, such as convenience stores and beer distributors, with greater revenue potential by authorizing sale of increasingly popular “ready-to-drink” products, which are currently only available at state stores.
In a memo sent to the House, the PA Chamber noted that this legislation would “enhance customer convenience” and “revenue potential” for establishments.
Ultimately, the chambers were not able to reach a consensus on the legislation prior to the summer session break. However, restaurants were given a slight break when the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board week voted last week to allow dining establishments to continue utilizing outdoor space.