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Wolf: Close bars on holiday eve

Governor orders pubs to stop alcohol sales at 5 p.m. Wednesday

Thanksgiving Eve is the biggest drinking night of the year, because few people work the next day, no one likes entertaining the night before hosting a big holiday meal, many people are home and eager to see old friends and the meal the next day is a good hangover cure, according to Bar & Club Stats.

It won’t be a big night out for Pennsylvania this year, though, because Gov. Tom Wolf on Monday ordered that alcohol sales for in-house consumption end at

5 p.m. Wednesday — not to resume until mid-morning Thanksgiving.

“Can I use the language I want?” asked Bill Lear, owner of Frank & D’s Pub, when asked what he thought of the order.

“It’s a real bummer,” said Jared Alwine, a bar manager at Zach’s Sports & Spirits. “We’re losing out on one of the biggest money nights of the year.”

“I think (the governor) is trying to put small bars and restaurants out of business,” Lear said, explaining that his bar is barely making it.

“I do understand somewhat (the governor’s) reasoning,” said Jean DeVentura, co-owner of the 4D’s Lounge and Pleasant Valley Recreation Center. “(But) I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary.”

“It’s almost like they’re working against us,” Alwine said. “It seems a little unfair.”

Bartenders haven’t been waiting on customers face-to-face since July, other than sometimes on tables during lunch, and “it’s taken its toll,” Alwine said.

That has meant a reduction in tip income, although the servers share some of their alcohol sales tip money, he said.

The goal for Zach’s now is to get through Christmas and New Year’s, “then hopefully there will be a vaccine,” Alwine said.

“It is what it is,” said Adam Bissell, a bartender at the Knickerbocker Tavern. “I guess that’s why I’m not the governor.”

The House Republican Caucus lambasted Wolf.

“While Pennsylvanians prepare to go Black Friday shopping at big box retailers unrestricted by new orders from Gov. Wolf, bars and restaurants are going to be left to languish under more onerous limitations on their ability to do business during what should be a robust holiday season,” the caucus stated in a news release.

“Pennsylvanians are currently policing their own activity during the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases,” the news release stated. “What they do not need during this unprecedented holiday season is the heavy hand of government forcing them to do that which they have been doing on their own accord for months.”

The Knickerbocker will remain open for food Wednesday evening. Pleasant Valley Bowl, which doesn’t sell alcohol, will be open, along with its snack bar.

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 814-949-7038.

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