McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC

As Pennsylvanians are now all aware, Governor Wolf has indicated that he intends to use a phased approach in lifting his previously-issued emergency declaration designating counties as “red,” “yellow,” or “green” counties.  Several Pennsylvania counties have now been moved by Governor Wolf from red to yellow.  Officials in other counties have made public statements that they have designated themselves as yellow, despite the fact that the Governor continues to designate such counties as red.  On May 13, 2020, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (“PLCB”) issued a Revised and Updated Advisory Notice No. 26, advising all Pennsylvania licensees of the potential consequences should licensees prematurely open based upon local county officials’ decisions to no longer enforce restrictions based upon a red-county designation.  In this Advisory Notice, the PLCB made clear that it will only recognize the Governor’s designation of a county, and expects all licensees to comply with the mandates of the Governor’s previously-issued emergency declaration.  Should a licensee violate these mandates, it risks citation by the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement (“BLCE”), which has agreed to notify the PLCB if any citations are issued relative to this issue.  The PLCB also stated that it may suspend a licensee’s operating authority under Section 462 of the Pennsylvania Liquor Code based on the circumstances.  Finally, the PLCB warned that a licensee who continues to operate after its operating privileges have been suspended risk further enforcement action by the BLCE.