UPDATE: Ordinance passed for open containers and expanded outdoor seating to become permanent in Carlisle

Carlisle/West Shore

CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) — Cocktails-to-go, the ordinance allowing restaurants to sell mixed drinks to-go, expired when the state’s emergency disaster declaration expired in June. Carlisle council members unanimously voted to pass an open contained ordinance on Thursday, July 15.

The new ordinance would allow customers to purchase mixed drinks and consume them outside in a designated area around the restaurant, but it would not allow for customers to take those drinks home.

One local restaurant owner said it is a good move.

“It was something we never expected to have a big market. We thought ok it will help, and it was significant. So for us to have that again, it would be great. It would really help a lot,” Chris Petsinis, owner of North Hanover Grille, said.

Like many bars and restaurants, Molly Pitcher Brewing Company in Downtown Carlisle felt the impacts of the pandemic.

“You really see it in Carlisle, as soon as stuff hit the fan, they stepped up, what can we do for these businesses,” Cassie Fourlas, General Manager of Molly Pitcher Brewing Company said.

Now, council members are stepping up again.

“Sometimes emergencies kind of wake us up to ideas that maybe we wouldn’t have thought of before,” Joel Hicks, Carlisle Borough Councilor said.

The statewide emergency order has ended, but the council wants to approve a new ordinance that would allow businesses to extend outdoor seating.

“The other component is actually allowing people to purchase a drink, an alcoholic beverage at a brewery, a distillery, a restaurant, a bar downtown, and then take it to go and walk through the downtown with it in a container,” Jeff Stuby, Carlisle Borough Councilor said.

A stamp of approval from the council doesn’t mean an automatic green light.

“There are still some barriers to jump through but we wanted to give businesses some certainty,” Hicks said.

Business license holders will have to apply to the Pennsylvanian Liquor Control Board.

“It helps the application if the municipality is on board,” Mayor Tim Scott said.

Scott says over the past year, there hasn’t been an increase in public drunkenness citations.

“There was no direct correlation between our open container ordinance and any more public drunkenness or any other violations like that,” Scott said.

The ordinance is only limited to the main downtown district but could be expanded later on. There’s a special borough meeting on July 15.

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