Lansdale bar defies state's mandate on Thanksgiving eve alcohol ban

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Thursday, November 26, 2020
Bar defying state's mandate on Thanksgiving eve alcohol ban
Robert Panico, owner of Panico's in Lansdale, explains why he's defying the state's mandate on Thanksgiving eve alcohol ban.

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- A business in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania says it's defying the state's Thanksgiving eve alcohol ban.

"Am I worried about losing my liquor license? No. Because I'm not breaking the law," said Robert Panico, owner of Panico's in Lansdale.

In an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, Pennsylvania has shut down the sales of alcohol at bars and restaurants through Thanksgiving morning.

Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine announced the mandate among a series of orders and advisories during a news conference earlier this week.

"To have this announced two days before when all our inventory was bought is soul-crushing," said Panico's brother, Chip.

WATCH: Temporary ban on alcohol sales in Pennsylvania now in effect

The alcohol sales suspension began at 5 p.m. and will stay in effect through 8 a.m. Thanksgiving Day.

Panico says he will be open until 2 a.m.

"There's 12 employees that work here. Those are 12 families that depend on nights like tonight, to pay their bills, pay the rent, to buy their kids Christmas presents," said Chip. "It makes me feel extremely proud of my brother and what he's doing because he's taking a stand for himself, for his family, our family, for the family of his employees, and for everyone else in our town that is sick and tired of this."

Pennsylvania's liquor stores reported a busy evening of sales Monday night, ahead of the one-night shutdown.

Pa. liquor stores have been busier than usual since the state's health department imposed a one-night shutdown of alcohol sales on Thanksgiving eve.

The alcohol sales suspension began at 5 p.m. and will stay in effect through 8 a.m. Thanksgiving Day. Health officials are hoping to curb what they feel would be a rapid spread of the virus on a popular drinking night.

Chris Todd, owner of Christopher's a Neighborhood Place in Wayne, Pa., says rules like this shake consumer confidence.

"The announcement itself will keep more people at home," said Todd.

There's also a concern people will just go elsewhere to drink.

"There are a lot more house parties. I've talked to my beer distributor and my liquor store purveyors and they all say they're very busy, people are stocking up for parties. We're responsible here, we wear a mask we're sanitizing everything. Where as, at someone's house, you don't know," said Matt Pressler of Matador Restaurant.

State guidance is to socialize in-person only with people who you live with during the holiday.

There are 327,829 total COVID-19 cases statewide.


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