Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf ordered restaurants and bars to halt the sale of alcohol on the evening before Thanksgiving to try and mitigate possible upticks in coronavirus cases.
According to KDKA of Pittsburgh, Wolf cited Thanksgiving eve as the “biggest day for drinking” and said the one-night ban is necessary despite the hard economic hit the service industry has taken from the pandemic.
“The thing that we can’t do is ignore reality and say, ‘Yeah, you folks, for no fault of your own, have been hit hardest by this virus.’ But the virus is what’s doing this. It’s not me. It’s not the administration. It’s not the government,” Wolf, a Democrat, said.
The ban will begin at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, according to the governor's office.
The move was met with criticism from those working in the service industry, who said the night before Thanksgiving is one of their biggest nights for sales.
Teddy Sourias, who owns five bars and restaurants in Philadelphia, told the Philadelphia Inquirer that Wolf's order was “yet another blow to our industry.”
“Every single day of sales counts right now, and they take away another day,” Sourias said. “People will gather on the biggest party night of the year regardless. At least our restaurants, we would have provided them with a safer option since we have trained staff and all these guidelines in place to protect them.”
Local and state officials have increased public health measures as coronavirus cases jumped in places across the country, especially ahead of the holiday season.
Pennsylvania has recorded more than 300,000 coronavirus cases and almost 10,000 associated deaths. The number of cases reported across the United States has exceeded 12 million, and there have been more than 250,000 deaths related to COVID-19.
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