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August 12, 2016

Changes at Pennsylvania liquor stores taking effect

State stores to sell lottery tickets, stay open later on Sundays

Laws Alcohol
Pa. Liquor Stores Matt Rourke/AP

In this Thursday, July 22, 2010 file photo, George Slack, left, of Lambertville, New Jersey, makes the first purchase at a newly opened state wine and liquor store in New Hope, Pennsylvania.

The decision to jumpstart a "Sunday Funday" with some of the hard stuff will no longer need to be made before 5 p.m. in Pennsylvania thanks to some changes to the state's draconian liquor laws taking effect.

Starting Sunday, Aug. 14, all state-owned stores will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Previously, state stores only sold booze from noon to 5 p.m.

Additionally, lottery tickets will now be sold at about half of Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores (around 300 stores once all the equipment is deployed this fall), and the 94 stores that were previously closed on Sundays will be open.

The changes come as part of the implementation of Act 39, signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf earlier this summer. The act made changes to 35 sections of the state Liquor Code.

Other changes, such as some grocery stores being able to sell wine, will take more time to become reality.

Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board member Michael Negra told NewsWorks they've faced some obstacles giving stores wine permits, and that sales at those stores will be delayed for a few months.

The state’s alcohol laws are notoriously strict and cumbersome on consumers, yet recent efforts to chip away at them have produced modest changes.

Some gas stations got approval to sell six-packs of beer earlier this year after a court ruling regarding the interpretation of the state’s Liquor Code.

Last year, the state’s beer distributors — previously only allowed to sell cases — got the OK to sell 12-packs as well.