Local beer distributors vow to remain open amid virus

While all state liquor stores ceased operations as of 9 p.m. Tuesday, beer distributors will remain open until officially ordered to close.

The Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Federation of Independent Businesses said that Gov. Tom Wolf’s effort to close down nonessential businesses to combat the spread of the coronavirus confused many of its members, forcing the governor to clarify that he was “strongly urging” businesses to close temporarily.

Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board spokesperson Elizabeth Brassell said that although retailers have been asked to close, at this time, the state is hoping businesses voluntarily shut down.

“The governor did order all nonessential businesses in Pennsylvania to close; it’s not a mandate that comes with punitive measures at this point,” she said.

Brassell said that businesses who choose to say open will not face any backlash, at least for now.

“Ultimately, the administration is looking for voluntary compliance,” she said. “They are hoping for some pretty widespread community and business cooperation so that the Secretary of Health and the governor don’t have to consider more drastic and punitive measures.”

Dave Galbraith, owner of Blair County Beverage in Hollidaysburg, said it is his choice on whether to close or stay open, and for now, he has chosen to stay open.

“I’m at the point where I don’t want to refuse to shut down, but I’m not going to because you have to have some things open.”

Galbraith said he doesn’t consider his business as nonessential because, along with beer, he sells water and ice.

Galbraith said his business isn’t a place where people gather for extended periods of time, so it doesn’t fit the criteria for social distancing.

“We are all takeout,” he said. “We never have more than 10 or so people in here at one time, they are in and out.”

Galbraith said he intends to stay open until he is told by the government to shut down.

“I’m going to keep things moving as best I can,” he said.

Mirror Stall Writer Rick Boston is at 946-7535.

Coronavirus-related closings

Many businesses, facilties and events are closed or canceled due to efforts to control the COVID-19 outbreak. Officials advise calling to confirm if your destination is open or has altered its hours or manner of service before traveling.


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