PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A 15-hour ban of alcohol sales for on-site consumption at bars and restaurants across Pennsylvania left many storefronts dark or empty on what is normally one of the busiest drinking nights.
The state’s order lasts from 5 p.m. Wednesday to 8 a.m. Thursday.
East Carson Street on the South Side, which is home to dozens of bars, was quiet.
“Things are different this year,” said Cara DelSignore, owner of South Side restaurant Stagioni. “It’s definitely unusual.”
DelSignore says multiple customers canceled reservations for Wednesday after Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine announced the order earlier in the week. Stagioni opens at 5 p.m., the same time the order took effect Wednesday.
“There was no period of being able to serve at all,” DelSignore said. “So we just went with the attitude of, let’s hope that people want to continue to order carry out.”
East Carston Street wasn’t the only quiet place in town Wednesday. Bars and restaurants closed early in downtown Pittsburgh, Dormont, Mt. Lebanon and Lawrenceville, just to name a few.
Arsenal Cider in Lawrenceville was open for to-go orders only. Owner Michelle Larkin said the night before Thanksgiving is typically a busy one.
“We usually have a line out the door,” Cider said. “If the weather permits, we have a cider barn outside that’s usually very full with people.”
Though customers could not stay for a drink, Arsenal Cider saw a steady stream of customers hoping to stock up.
“Normally, we do a little thing with friends the night before Thanksgiving and then after that, we do our family stuff,” said Heather Miller of Export. “This year, obviously, with everything going on, we’re not doing that.”
While trying to make up sales with to-go orders, Larkin says the state’s order impacts her bottom line in many ways.
“We’re on tap at a lot of bars and restaurants around the area,” she said. “So not only are we directly affected at the tasting rooms, but we’re also affected in the bars and restaurants.”
Along with Pennsylvania State Police, Pittsburgh Public Safety also announced they created a task force for compliance checks, at the request of Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto.
A Pittsburgh Public Safety spokesperson says the task force will be making unannounced and random compliance checks at businesses throughout the evening.