Pennsylvania's Liquor Laws Aren't Helping Right Now


There are a whole lot of people riding out the shelter-in-place orders by stocking up on alcohol and it's hard to blame folks, really. This would be easy to do in most places, but the way Pennsylvania's booze laws have played out has created some really stupid alcohol-based squabbles with bordering states.

The background you need to understand here is that, up until a few years ago, it was illegal to transport alcohol over state lines into Pennsylvania. If you were bringing a six-pack from a brewery in Brooklyn back to your home in Philly, there were checkpoints where police could stop to see if you were "rum-running" like the lamest version of a 1920s gangster. There were also restrictions on how many sites throughout the state could sell alcohol, and beer/wine licenses and liquor licenses were done separately.

This led to the creation of a bunch of separate alcohol shops around the state, which during the statewide shut down due to the coronavirus came to be considered "nonessential." Pennsylvania wasn't the only state to shut down liquor stores, but it was the only one with that bonkers infrastructure from times when women were called "dames" and it was illegal to be Italian after 5 pm.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. An online portal set up for ordering alcohol was working with about a 1 in 1000 success rate, which is worse than even the drunkest beer pong player's shot percentage. Noting that those alcohol-transport laws were no longer on the table (as of a way-too-recent five years ago), Pennsylvanians have taken to completely ignoring that whole shelter-in-place order and hopping on over to other states to get their alcohol. It's been absolute chaos. Ohio and West Virginia have had to take extra measures to shut down Pennsylvanian border-hopping, as have Delaware and New Jersey.

We understand that things aren't great out there right now, but if your choices are staying at home with no alcohol or visiting New Jersey ... Well, the choice should be obvious.

Top Image: O'Dea at Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0


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