Pennsylvania adds order pickup locations after controversial decision to close liquor stores

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Pennsylvania’s state-owned liquor store system is expanding the number of pick-up locations.

The Alcohol Beverage Control Board abruptly closed all stores, drawing criticism from residents. The move also led to crowded stores in border areas in Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland.

Neighboring states later issued stay at home orders, with Delaware turning back vehicles near the massive Total Wine store in Claymont.

Delaware officials have taken heat for keeping the state’s liquor stores open. Cited as the reason is the danger of problem drinkers going into withdrawal and burdening health care facilities.

“After ramping up 46 additional Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores and licensee service centers in the last few days and aiming to have 121 fulfillment centers picking and packing e-commerce orders this weekend, we’ve made significant progress in improving service to Pennsylvania consumers seeking access to wines and spirits,” said Liquor Control Board Chairman Tim Holden. “Today, we’re accepting 6,500 orders through our website, an 850 percent increase since April 1, when limited e-commerce sales resumed, and a 261 percent increase over the 1,800 orders we had been consistently accepting each day for a number of days.”

As order fulfillment capacity increases, the board will continue increasing the number of orders it takes each day, expecting to be able to accept 10,000 or more orders daily in the coming days.

Figures from the board indicated steady growth in sales from $59,000 on April 1 to $427,548 on Wednesday The closing of the stores has led to a sharp decline in alcohol beverage taxes, a sizable revenue source in the commonwealth.

An additional 10 stores are slated to be open for picking up orders in Chester County and 10 in Delaware County.

All store locations remain closed to the public and are using limited staff, a combination of employees and contractors processing e-commerce orders.

Beginning April 1, three fulfillment centers supported e-commerce operations, and 46 additional facilities have been brought into operation in recent days. On Friday, 26 more fulfillment facilities will be added, with the balance of the 121 total locations expected to be operational this weekend.

Access to www.FineWineAndGoodSpirits.comOpens continues to be randomized to avoid overwhelming the site with high traffic, prevent order abuse, and prolong access throughout the day so that order availability isn’t exhausted in seconds or minutes each day.

All fulfillment facilities are implementing public health best practices to protect employees, including enhanced facility sanitation, social distancing protocols, and limiting the numbers of employees working in any facility at a time.

The PLCB is not considering reopening stores at this time, although the agency continues to monitor the situation in consultation with the Wolf Administration and public health officials.

Nearly 1,000 licensed producers in Pennsylvania – including breweries, wineries, and distilleries – may still sell their own products for off-premises consumption.

Restaurant and eating place licensees (bars, taverns, bottle shops, pizza/sub shops, supermarkets, convenience stores, etc.) can sell beer to go, up to 192 ounces (generally two six packs) per transaction.

  • Restaurant licensees that also have wine expanded permits – including grocery stores and convenience stores – may also sell up to three liters of wine to go, per transaction.
  • Beer distributors in Pennsylvania may continue sales for off-premises consumption.
  • Residents remain able to purchase wine from more than 1,200 licensed direct wine shippers.
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