Southeast PA Liquor Licensees May Apply for Temporary Extension of Licensed Premises to Serve Alcohol Outside
By: Matthew M. McKeon
*Note: due to the rapidly evolving government response to the COVID-19 pandemic, this article may not be current at the time it is read. Readers seeking additional information may contact the author at [email protected]
On June 3, 2020, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (the “LCB”) issued a press release and the second revised Advisory Notice No. 26 announcing that liquor licensees could apply for a temporary extension of their licensed premises to include additional outdoor areas. This would allow licensees to legally sell and serve alcohol to patrons in these outdoor areas. The LCB’s announcement follows Governor Wolf’s May 27, 2020 guidelines allowing restaurants in counties which are in the “yellow” phase of the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 reopening process to begin dine-in service in outdoor areas on June 5, 2020.
Licensees are advised to read the LCB’s press release and the second revised Advisory Notice No. 26 to learn all relevant information regarding this application. Important aspects of this temporary measure include the following:
- Applicable licenses: This application is available to licenses for restaurants, hotels, clubs, catering clubs, retail dispensers, distilleries, limited distilleries, wineries, limited wineries, and breweries.
- Outdoor Areas Affected: The temporary extension of the premises only applies to outdoor areas immediately adjacent to, abutting and contiguous to the existing licensed premises. This excludes any outdoor areas which are separated from a licensed premises by a public thoroughfare. If the outdoor area to be licensed is not under the licensee’s control (for example, a municipal sidewalk) then the licensee must provide proof of their right to occupy the area (such as a permit or other authorization from the municipality).
- Automatic Authorization Upon Posting of Printed Confirmation Page: After the licensee submits the application on the LCB’s website (see instructions below) the licensee will see a confirmation screen stating that the application was successfully submitted for processing. The licensee shall print and post this confirmation screen as directed, whereupon they will automatically have temporary authority to operate on the proposed outdoor area. The licensee will also be directed to post a Notice of Application. Distilleries, limited distilleries, wineries, limited wineries and breweries do not need to post a Notice of Application but must display the LCB’s email stating the application was accepted.
- Duration: The initial authority for a temporary extension will last until one of the following occurs: (1) the COVID-19 Emergency Declaration ends; (2) the LCB receives a protest or petition to intervene in opposition to a particular application; or (3) the LCB informs the licensee that the authority has otherwise come to an end. However, licensees can also apply for a permanent extension of the licensed premises under the normal procedures.
- Plan Required: Like an application to permanently extend the licensed premises, the licensee seeking a temporary extension must also submit a plan of the outdoor area as directed by the online application.
- No Fee for Temporary Extension Application: However, the normal application fee applies if the licensee is applying for a permanent extension of the licensed premises.
Licensees can apply by logging into the LCB website, clicking “Other Licenses Changes / Amendments” under the “Existing Licenses” section, selecting their license, and scrolling to “EMERGENCY TEMPORARY EXTENSION”. Licensees will then be prompted to answer questions and submit the necessary plan to complete their application.
If you are unsure about any aspect of the LCB’s temporary extension of premises application or have other questions about the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on your license, please contact MacElree Harvey, Ltd. by emailing Matthew McKeon at [email protected]. This article provides a general overview of the law. It is not intended to be, and should not be construed as, legal advice for any particular fact situation.