Pennsylvania-run wine, liquor stores open for curbside pickup

Of the 600 state-run liquor stores, 175 will be participating in the curbside pick-up program

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Pennsylvania-owned liquor stores, which account for nearly all of the state's alcohol retail, began a curbside pickup program on Monday after weeks of only offering limited online ordering amid closures related to the coronavirus pandemic, officials announced.

State-run Fine Wine & Good Spirit stores located throughout Pennsylvania opened for curbside pickup on Monday allowing customers to place orders online and retrieve their desired alcoholic selections at a nearby retail location, Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board announced on its website.

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Of the 600 stores, 175 will be participating in the curbside pick-up program, and locations are spread throughout all 67 Pennsylvania counties and will be open Monday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., “or until the store reaches the maximum number of orders it can fulfill that day,” according to a list of pickup-accessible stores posted online by the LCB.

Customers are only allowed to place one order “per caller, per store, per day,” and are limited to a six-bottle maximum.

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The change in alcohol sales regulations was made after last month’s unparalleled decision to close the state-owned stores that sell nearly all of Pennsylvania's liquor and much of its wine, which in turn prompted some people to drive across state lines to stock up.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf began closing businesses in March, and the Liquor Control Board, after consulting with him, soon shut down its retail outlets.

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A couple weeks after the retail locations closed, the liquor board restarted its meager online sales system, ramping up this past week by bringing back some workers to fill boxes for home delivery.

In this April 16, 2020 photo people line up to purchase Pennsylvania made liquor at Pennsylvania Libations in Pittsburgh's Strip District. . (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Before the pandemic, the state liquor board did about 180,000 daily transactions, but as workers began returning, it had only been able to fill more than 4,000 online orders a day.

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The month of relative sobriety reinvigorated the perpetual debate over the state's Depression-era liquor store system. Pennsylvania has about six liquor stores — compared to 20 for typical control states — for every 100,000 adults, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. States without government control systems have about 35 stores per 100,000 adults.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.