Pennsylvania’s state-owned wine, liquor stores to close

(AP file photo)

(AP file photo)

Pennsylvania will shut down all of its roughly 600 state-owned wine and liquor stores as part of the state’s expanding shutdown as Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration tries to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.

All wine and liquor stores and licensee service centers will close 9 p.m. Tuesday, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board said in a statement.

Online sales ended Monday.

Board Chairman Tim Holden said in a statement that he knew store closings will hurt consumers and licensees, but that fighting the public health crisis must take priority.

Wolf already ordered the stores to shut down after Monday in four southeastern Pennsylvania counties — Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery — where he had said there was “confirmed evidence of risk.”

Stores in those four counties first drew large crowds over the weekend, and the liquor control board said processing and delivery of online orders would be delayed because of unusually high order volume.

The liquor control board, however, said it would adopt “lenient measures” to allow licencees to sell beer and wine to go, for off-premises consumption.

Retail licensees, including restaurants, bars, hotels, grocery stores and convenience stores, also may continue selling beer or wine to go, while breweries, wineries and distilleries can continue selling their own products for off-premises consumption, it said.

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