Outdoor dining and entertainment is a step closer to reality after the state Senate unanimously approved amplified sound during certain hours at restaurants, bars, breweries, clubs and hotels.
Senate Bill 1212, sponsored by Sens. Kristin Phillips-Hill, R-York, and Mike Regan, R-York/Cumberland, would expand on a 2019 law that currently allows only limited wineries to offer amplified sound, like outdoor music, up to 75 decibels at the property line.
Under the bill approved by the Senate, all liquor license holders would be allowed to offer amplified sound, up to 75 decibels, on Sunday through Thursday between the hours of 10 a.m. and 9 p.m., and on Friday and Saturday between 10 a.m. and 12 a.m.
“Our Commonwealth experienced the second most restrictive economic shutdown during the pandemic. The hardest hit industry was our hospitality sector,” Phillips-Hill said. “This legislation will help our locally owned restaurants, bars, taverns, breweries, clubs and hotels continue to recover, offer greater experiences for guests, and provide these entities with the same opportunities that our limited wineries have had for the last three years.”
Without this bill, outdoor dining growth is hampered by outdated liquor code that requires nearly all establishments to have no noise on their property lines or face citations, said the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association. As a result, many tavern, bar, and licensed restaurant owners as well as clubs fear the consequences of having the slightest level of sound on their property line.
“There are inconsistencies in our Liquor Code that pick winners and losers between licensees,” stated Regan. “This bill brings consistency among licensees with regard to onsite music events and offers these small businesses more opportunities to attract customers and to not only remain open but to succeed.”
The legislation heads to the House of Representative for further consideration. If approved by the House and signed by the governor, the measure would take effect immediately.