Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board Temporarily Expedites Extensions of Licensed Premises for Additional Outdoor Serving Areas

Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board

HARRISBURG, PA — Supplementing guidance issued by Governor Tom Wolf for businesses in the restaurant industry and to facilitate outdoor dining and service, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board announced an expedited approval process for licensees wishing to temporarily extend their licensed premises to include additional outdoor areas.

The service or sale of alcoholic beverages in unlicensed areas is illegal, so licensees looking to serve or sell alcoholic beverages in a currently unlicensed outdoor area must apply to the PLCB for an extension of their licensed premises.

Adoption of this temporary expedited application process will immediately grant authority to serve at previously unlicensed outdoor areas, waiving both application fees and the minimum 30-day waiting period typically required before an extension of licensed premises could be approved.

The guidance issued by the PLCB regarding these temporary procedures is summarized below.

  • Emergency temporary authority for outside areas may be requested by clubs, catering clubs, restaurants, retail dispensers, hotels, distilleries, limited distilleries, wineries, limited wineries, and breweries.
  • Licensees that wish to apply for a temporary extension of the licensed premises to include outside serving areas, with this extension expiring at the end of the current public health emergency, may do so without paying the $220 filing fee.
  • The application for temporary extension of premises to include an outdoor seating area will require the submission of a plan, and if the area to be licensed is an area not under the applicant’s control – such as a municipal sidewalk – then proof that the applicant has the right to occupy the location must be provided.
  • A licensee may only submit an application for an outdoor area immediately adjacent to, abutting and contiguous to the existing licensed premises. Applications for locations not meeting these criteria will be rejected, and no temporary extensions are allowed for any locations separated from a licensed premises by a public thoroughfare.
  • Upon submission of the application, the licensee will see a confirmation screen that the application was successfully submitted for processing. The licensee must print this confirmation page and display it as evidence the application was received, and at that point, the licensee will automatically have temporary authority to operate on the proposed outdoor area.
Licensees that do not wish to extend the licensed premises to serve and sell alcohol but will merely allow customers to congregate on an unlicensed portion of the premises are reminded they must still adhere to the Governor’s guidelines on social distancing.
Any licensee that fails to comply with this guidance risks citation by the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement.

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