PITTSBURGH, PA (KDKA) – Where alcohol can be sold is a topic of conversation that has been going on in Pennsylvania for years.
“Now is the time to bring it into the 21st century,” said Rep. Tim O’Neal of Washington County.
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Until a few years ago, you couldn’t go into a giant eagle for alcohol. Now most of the locations sell beer or wine, but when the liquor stores closed during the pandemic, the business was hit hard.
“Since we are here on the West Virginia-Ohio border, we’ve seen many of our residents cross the line to buy alcohol during the pandemic,” O’Neal said.
Pennsylvania has the second strictest alcohol laws in the country, according to O’Neal. It’s a concept that people have wondered why for years.
“How many other countries can you buy at gas stations? You can buy it in Target or in a grocery store, it makes more sense, ”said Danieka Suggs.
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A new house bill sponsored by O’Neal could put Pennsylvania on the same playing field. It’s an extension of Act 39 in 2016 that allows grocery and convenience stores to sell beer and wine.
“The concept is to do the same with spirits to expand the market and provide convenience for customers,” said O’Neal.
He told KDKA that the proposal expanded options without cutting jobs, so that this could lead to an increase in taxes with more sales. The sentence from the residents we spoke to is: “It is time.”
“There is a liquor store near us but it closes at 7am and a grocery store closes at 9:30 or 10am. So if I know I have to do a late liquor run, I have to do it early in the day and a grocery store won’t open until later, ”Suggs said.
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O’Neal said he hoped to speak to the chairman of the House Liquor Control Committee about the bill next week.