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April 01, 2020

Pennsylvania reopens online liquor sales, then site quickly shuts down due to overwhelming demand

No timetable has been provided for when the Fine Wine & Good Spirits will resume accepting orders for delivery

UPDATE: The Fine Wine & Good Spirts online store has closed "due to overwhelming demand," not long after the site opened up Wednesday to online orders. A message from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board on the website on Thursday morning instructed customers to revisit later to see when online ordering will become available again:

"Due to the overwhelming demand, the online store is not available at this time. Please try again tomorrow or in the coming days. We apologize for the inconvenience. We appreciate your understanding and patience in these unprecedented times."

Pennsylvania residents can now purchase a limited number of alcohol online as liquor stores across the state remain closed until further notice, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control board announced on Wednesday.

Customers can now buy up to six bottles per order from a reduced selection of approximately 1,000 top-selling wines and spirits from the state’s Fine Wine & Good Spirits website. All purchases must be shipped to home addresses, and customers can only have one order shipped per day to their address.

The reason for the limited number of orders and alcohol per order is because of the PLCB’s limited number of employees working right now due to the coronavirus outbreak across the state, resulting in site traffic and customer interest likely exceeding what the agency is currently able to fulfill.

“We ask for your patience and understanding, and as order fulfillment capacity increases, the PLCB will consider increasing the number of orders it’s able to accept each day,” the PLCB said in a statement. “We understand the disruption our store closures have on Pennsylvania consumers and licensees across the state, and more information will be made available as we develop and finalize plans to support our employees, licensees, suppliers and customers to the best of our abilities in these uncertain times. For now, mitigation of the public health crisis must take priority over the sale of wine and spirits, as the health and safety of our employees, customers and communities is paramount.”

The PLCB also said that it will remain in touch with state officials over the COVID-19 pandemic in Pennsylvania so that the agency is “ready to act quickly to resume operations when it is deemed safe to do so.”

Liquor stores across the state were forced to shut down on March 19 after Gov. Tom Wolf ordered all non-essential business to close until further notice in order to mitigate the spread of the virus.

Pennsylvania has 5,805 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, the ninth-most of any state in the country, and 74 deaths as a result of the virus as of Wednesday afternoon. The vast majority have appeared in Philadelphia and Southeastern Pennsylvania, where over 3,000 positive cases have been discovered.

Philadelphia has 1,478 cases and 10 deaths, the most of any in both categories across the state, Montgomery County has 649 cases and eight deaths, Delaware County has 390 cases and seven deaths, Bucks County has 312 cases and six deaths, and Chester County has 183 cases and one death.

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