Pennsylvania to start curbside pickup at liquor stores

Pennsylvania is starting curbside pickup at liquor stores around the state a month after Gov. Tom Wolf ordered them closed as part of a broader shutdown of businesses deemed nonessential.

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board announced on its website Saturday that stores will begin taking orders by phone on Monday, with each customer limited to no more than six bottles. Curbside pickup will be available at more than 175 of the state’s 600 stores.

The closure of the state-owned liquor stores had been widely unpopular, especially with the state’s online ordering system largely unable to keep up with overwhelming consumer demand. The liquor board, which has a virtual monopoly on retail sales of hard alcohol in Pennsylvania, has been repurposing some of the stores to help fulfill online orders.

Under the curbside pickup program, each store will take orders by phone from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. — or until the store reaches the maximum number of orders it can fill that day — Monday through Saturday.

“We’re optimistic our capacity to fulfill orders through our website and curbside pickup will increase in the coming weeks,” the agency said on its website.

Producers, breweries, wineries and distilleries, and privately owned beer distributorships have been permitted to sell during the business shutdown. Beer and wine is also available at grocery stores and convenience stores.

In other coronavirus-related developments Saturday:

MASS TESTING SITE

A drive-through coronavirus testing site opens next week in northeastern Pennsylvania for emergency and health workers and older commonwealth residents with symptoms, state officials announced Saturday.

The state’s health secretary, Dr. Rachel Levine, said the site at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, was sought because “we continue to see case counts increasing there.”

The site will begin testing Monday for 100 first responders and health care workers from northeastern Pennsylvania who have symptoms of COVID-19. Beginning Tuesday, the site will test as many as 200 northeastern Pennsylvania residents over age 65 with symptoms as well as first responders and health care workers each day.

Registration a day in advance on the health department’s website will be required, but patients won’t need a doctor’s prescription. Results should be available in two to three business days, and patients will receive an email to log on to the registration site and access their results, officials said.

People heading to the site will be required to return home and self-isolate after testing, and they are being urged not to make any stops along the way, such as to a grocery store or pharmacy, Levine said.

“We want people to come to the site and then go back home,” Levine said.

CASES:

The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported 80 more deaths among people who tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 836.

Officials also reported 1,628 additional positive cases of the virus, bringing the statewide total to 31,069, with cases in all 67 counties of the commonwealth.

Most hospitalized patients are 65 or older, and most deaths have occurred in patients 65 or older, with no pediatric deaths to date, the department said.

For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up in a couple of weeks. Older adults and people with existing health problems are at higher risk of more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death

BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS DIRECTORY

State officials in Pennsylvania have announced creation of a business-to-business directory for supplies related to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Department of Community and Economic Development says the business-to-business interchange directory is intended to connect organizations and businesses directly to manufacturers producing products and supplies.

Secretary Dennis Davin said it’s intended to provide commmonwealth residents access to critical supplies “expeditiously without a middleman.”

The directory currently includes manufacturers of N95 masks, fabric and other masks, and surgical masks. Additional supplies and materials will be added to the directory as the department identifies potential manufacturers.