Chips Don't Count as a Meal: Pa. Clarifies COVID-19 Rules for Bars

In an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, Pennsylvania bars must serve a meal with drinks

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No serving crackers or chips at the bar and calling it a meal.

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board issued “clarifying guidance” Wednesday to bars and restaurants that serve alcohol. Amid a surge in cases in a few hot spots like the Pittsburgh area, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf recently ordered bars statewide to close unless they also serve meals at tables.

That raised questions about what exactly constitutes a “meal.”

To qualify, the food must be prepared on site and constitute breakfast, lunch or dinner, the liquor board said. Pretzels, popcorn and chips and other snack food won’t cut it.

“Additional drinks may be purchased while the customer is consuming the meal, but no further drinks may be purchased after the meal is finished,” the PLCB said.

The PLCB also said that casinos can't provide drink service on the gambling floor and that any club that doesn’t sell food can’t use its liquor license.

The virus has infected more than 103,000 people in Pennsylvania since the beginning of the pandemic. More than 7,000 have died, most of them in nursing homes.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher than the state’s confirmed case count because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected without feeling sick.

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