‘Potential Death Sentence’: Allegheny Co. Businesses Speak Out Against On-Site Alcohol Ban Issued By Officials

‘Potential Death Sentence’: Allegheny Co. Businesses Speak Out Against On-Site Alcohol Ban Issued By Officials

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — At five o clock Tuesday afternoon, happy hour will be no more in Allegheny County.

Enforcement will begin for not allowing on-site consumption of alcohol and bars and restaurants. They can stay open and serve food or cocktails to go, but many bar owners say this won’t allow them to make any money.


Allegheny County leaders decided something had to be done after a spike in Coronavirus cases at the end of last week.


“The numbers went up very fast and very high, and it’s a concern,” Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said.


Some bars feel they were punished for other bars violating the guidelines.


“I’m turning people away because you can’t have anyone standing here but you go down the street or next, they’ve got wall-to-wall people which is past 50 percent occupancy,” Redbeard’s Sports Bar owner Len Semplice said.


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On Monday, the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association sent a letter to Fitzgerald and county Health Director Dr. Debra Bogen. The association works with neighborhood bars and restaurants and feels this could force some to close their doors permanently.


“This is a potential death sentence to some of those businesses,” PLBTA Executive Director Chuck Moran said through a Zoom call.


The letter said the organization supports limiting community spread of the virus, but to stop on-site consumption of alcohol is an overly broad brush to punish establishments following the guidelines for the acts of “a few back actors.”


“It’s not fair to those who did everything right, especially those who invested a lot of money and followed the protocols the state provided,” Moran said.


County leaders want to get the virus under control and need help from the public. They are asking you to report anyone in violation of the orders. If businesses are in violation they will be closed for at least a week.


“We need people, businesses as well as individuals to be responsible,” Fitzgerald said.


“We have to make sure people have jobs and pay their bills. There has to be a middle ground to make that happen,” Moran told KDKA.


Bars and restaurants are still open. If you go to one to eat you will have to use your mask the entire time even while sitting at the table unless you are eating or drinking.


More information on the Coronavirus pandemic: