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Last update: October 23, 3:10 p.m.
PRLA's Statement on Today's Press Conference
PRLA has been advocating for a number of industry "lifelines" since March 19. It's unfortunate that the Administration is only now, nearly 8 months later, taking our requests seriously. While our industry desperately needs support, these olive branches will not sustain businesses that are still reeling from closures, shrinking revenue, and well-intended but ineffective mitigation efforts unnecessarily targeting restaurant operators. For example, the $20 million in licensee fee waivers only accounts for 2021 fees, does not provide relief for 2020 fees, and only amounts to about $1,500 per licensee, which doesn't compensate for the daily losses in revenue licensees are facing under the current orders. The PRLA has asked for federal and state funding packages. However, those only help if the industry is returned to the safe and rational operating guidelines from pre-July 15, which HB 2513 would have accomplished, and the majority of the legislature has recognized. A true lifeline for the industry would have been permitting HB 2513 to become law. If the restaurant industry is the backbone of Pennsylvania’s economy, then our Governor needs to understand our backs are broken.
-John Longstreet, President & CEO
October 16: PRLA Statement on Gov. Wolf's veto of HB 2513
This afternoon Governor Wolf vetoed HB 2513, which will have long-lasting and negative impact on the hospitality industry. Despite the communication from the governor’s office, HB2513 does not allow restaurants at full capacity, but allows restaurants to operate at 50% capacity. HB 2513 was passed with broad bipartisan support in both chambers of the legislature and is vitally important to the restaurant, lodging, and event industries’ long-term survival. As the voice of these industries representing nearly 30,000 businesses and 700,000 employees across the Commonwealth, the PRLA has repeatedly asked the Wolf Administration to listen to struggling business owners and employees who want nothing more than to earn a living and protect their guests, employees, and families. The Administration has repeatedly rebuked requests for a return to the reasonable, well researched, and common-sense standards that were in effect before July 15.
As colder weather approaches and outdoor dining becomes less attractive, the Governor’s veto of HB 2513 and the new, illogical private event standards will produce more losers than winners and are an affront to the hospitality industry. The PRLA appreciates the continued support from the 36 Democrats in the House and 14 in the Senate who reached across the aisle on behalf of businesses and hospitality workers in their districts.
As we start to see COVID-19 cases rise across the state, we implore Governor Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine to educate residents on the greater dangers of hosting small gatherings in their homes, which ignore mask wearing and social distancing protocols, instead of placing further restrictions and undue burdens on the struggling restaurant industry.
-John Longstreet, PRLA President & CEO
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