Senate OKs bill to loosen virus limits on restaurants, bars

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People gather at the North Shore Tavern in Pittsburgh on Sunday, June 28, 2020. In response to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Allegheny County, health officials are ordering all bars and restaurants in the county to stop the sale of alcohol for on-site consumption beginning on Tuesday afternoon. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Legislation to loosen Gov. Tom Wolf’s pandemic restrictions on Pennsylvania’s bars and restaurants easily passed the state Senate.

The Republican-controlled Senate voted 43 to 6 for a bill Tuesday that ends the requirement that customers buy food in order to purchase alcohol and permits patrons to be served drinks at the bar.

It also permits taverns and restaurants to operate at 50% capacity, or more if they can meet state and federal social distancing standards or erect appropriate barriers.

The bill goes to the House vote before it can go to Wolf, a Democrat.

Wolf’s office says he’ll veto the proposal if it reaches him in its current form.

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