April 04, 2020
Since coronavirus restrictions closed all state liquor stores in Pennsylvania, residents of Delaware County are driving to a nearby state to get their booze.
Pennsylvania residents are crossing from Delco to neighboring Delaware en mass, to one store in particular, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Friday. The Total Wine and Spirits store located in Claymont, Delaware has been packed with out-of-state customers.
So many residents were coming to the store that Delaware State Police went there to stop drivers that appeared to be traveling from another state. Police were not writing tickets, but they warned drivers that they were violating Delaware Gov. John Carney's order, reported NBC10 Friday.
In an effort to reduce the spread of coronavirus in Delaware, Gov. John Carney recently placed travel restrictions on out-of-state travelers, prohibiting drivers from entering the state unless they are doing so on "essential business." If necessary to travel to the state, visitors are required to self-quarantine for 14 days.
However, even after drivers were warned by state troopers, some of these Pennsylvania visitors simply went to smaller stores in Wilmington, and other parts of New Castle County to buy alcohol.
On some roads, state troopers are also conducting vehicle searches for out-of-state travelers, the Delco Times reported Saturday.
Pennsylvania travelers can visit Delaware to conduct "essential business" which includes duties like caring for family members or getting health care, but not shopping for wine. Delaware's state-owned liquor stores themselves were marked as "essential businesses," to remain open during coronavirus shutdowns, but for state residents' use only.
Delaware officials were worried that if liquor stores shut down, alcoholics experiencing withdrawal symptoms would overcrowd the already busy hospitals attempting to treat coronavirus patients and control the spread of disease.
Alcohol consumption in Delaware is much higher than Pennsylvania and most of the rest of the country. Delaware ranks as one of the top three states in the U.S. for most gallons of ethanol alcohol consumed per year per capita, along with New Hampshire and Nevada.
Pennsylvania currently has many more positive cases of coronavirus and recorded deaths resulting from coronavirus complications than Delaware. Delaware has around 400 cases and 15 deaths, where Pennsylvania has more than 8,000 cases and more than 100 deaths as of Saturday morning.