Local bar owner says one night alcohol ban won’t help prevent COVID spread in PA

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Thanksgiving Eve is usually one of the biggest drinking nights of the year. But this year Pennsylvania bars and restaurants aren’t allowed to sell alcohol for the night because of a recent health order.

George Giannaris, the owner of Mr. G’s doesn’t think the order will prevent the spread of coronavirus like it’s intended to.

He didn’t expect this rule when it was announced.

“We knew that sooner or later we were going to hear some news about restrictions coming forward as the holidays were approaching. We didn’t expect to be shut down at 5 p.m.,” Giannaris said. “When we stop selling alcohol at 5:00 a lot of customers are going to decide not to come through at all.”

Larry Withers is a regular at Mr. G’s. He thinks this health order and others like it are hurting everyone.

“I think it’s silly. I think it has no common sense,” Withers said. “I think they’re making everybody’s lives tough. Everybody I know is struggling. People can’t pay their bills. People can’t feed their dog.”

Mr. G gets that state leaders want to keep people safe.

“I understand that the Governor or whoever is in charge had to make some tough calls and some tough decisions and this is one of them,” Giannaris said.

But, he thinks this order will just drive people to gather at homes instead of bars and restaurants.

“The restaurants are probably the safest place to be. With the social distancing, with the wearing masks. If people start resorting to other places to go celebrate or party there’s no way to control that,” Giannaris said.

As bar owners pause the pouring for a night, this ban is making them poorer.

“The restaurants, the bars, the taverns, they’re getting hurt the most,” Giannaris said. “There has to be a way so we can keep going because sadly enough more places are going to be shutting down their doors left and right.”

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