Pennsylvania COVID Police Cracking Down on Bars and Restaurants, 48 Citations and Warnings Issued for COVID-19 Violations

Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvania State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 525 licensed liquor establishments from Monday, November 16 through Thursday, November 19 to ensure businesses are abiding by COVID-19 mitigation requirements that include social distancing, masking, and other health and safety requirements of the liquor code.

Liquor Control Enforcement Officers issued 11 notices of violation and 37 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. As mandated by the liquor code, a notice of violation precedes the issuance of an administrative citation, which is civil in nature, and is intended to provide licensed liquor establishments notification of the nature of violation(s) discovered. The investigation remains open during this period, pending review by the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement (BLCE). Because the investigation is ongoing, names of establishments issued a notice of violation will not be released at this time. Each BLCE district office posts a monthly public information release that includes details on citations issued by that office.

Compliance checks are unannounced and can occur anywhere in the commonwealth, although the focus is on areas experiencing higher coronavirus transmission rates. Among other requirements, all businesses and employees in the restaurant and retail food service industry authorized to conduct in-person activities are mandated to:

  • Require all customers to wear masks while entering, exiting or otherwise traveling throughout the restaurant or retail food service business (face masks may be removed while seated). Further, employees are required to wear masks at all times.
  • Provide at least six feet between parties at tables or physical barriers between customers where booths are arranged back to back.
  • Ensure maximum occupancy limits for indoor and outdoor areas are posted and enforced.
Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement | November 16-19, 2020
1-Philadelphia 159 3 0
2-Wilkes-Barre 111 0 3
3-Harrisburg 36 5 1
4-Pittsburgh 86 18 3
5-Altoona 52 1 2
6-Williamsport 32 0 0
7-Punxsutawney 5 2 1
8-Erie 19 4 1
9-Allentown 25 4 0
TOTALS 525 37 11


Violators may face administrative citation by the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement. Continued violations put an establishment’s liquor license at risk, either through the citation process or upon application for renewal. More information is available on the enforcement page of the state police COVID-19 portal.

Complaints regarding licensees not complying with COVID-19 mitigation mandates may be directed to the BLCE at 1-800-932-0602 or reported through the BLCE’s online complaint form.