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Pennsylvania resumes liquor sales after coronavirus closure, website crash

Customers are limited to 6 bottles per order

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Pennsylvania is resuming alcohol sales online while the state's liquor stores remain dark to limit the spread of COVID-19.

On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board’s website began accepting a limited number of online orders per day, two weeks after liquor stores across the state closed up shop as part of Gov. Tom Wolf’s expanding shutdown.

However, buyer demand overwhelmed the site only moments after sales started, and customers were greeted with an announcement urging them to check back later.

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“We understand the public wants to have access to wines and spirits during these unprecedented times, but we have a responsibility to mitigate community spread of this virus to every extent possible and make sure our employees and our customers are as safe as they can be,” board chairman Tim Holden said. “We believe that re-opening FineWineAndGoodSpirits.com in a controlled manner will allow us to provide access to consumers while also protecting our employees and consumers from unnecessary risk.”

Holden previously cautioned that he knew store closings will hurt consumers and licensees, but that fighting the public health crisis must take priority.

(iStock)

Customers are allowed to purchase up to six bottles per order from a reduced catalog of 1,000 wines and spirits, the agency, which manages the beverage alcohol industry in Pennsylvania, announced Wednesday. All orders must be shipped to a customer's home and only one order per address will be fulfilled each day.

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However, the agency will consider increasing the number of orders it completes each day as fulfillment capacity increases.

Although physical stores will temporarily remain closed, the agency will continue to monitor the situation in consultation with the Wolf administration and public health officials.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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