CAMPBELL, Ohio (WKBN) – Liquor stores have been shut down in Pennsylvania since the state closed all of its non-essential businesses on March 16, but the ones in Ohio have stayed open.
It has led to big crowds and problems maintaining social distancing at shops in The Buckeye State as Pennsylvania customers head over to Ohio.
But, Monday’s order from Ohio’s governor promises to change things once again.
The order says Ohio IDs are required for all purchases at all liquor stores near the Pennsylvania line. It presents another big change for the customers who shop there and for the stores themselves.
Gaetano’s Pizza and Party Store in Campbell is just four miles from the state line.
On Monday, there were plenty of cars in the store’s drive-thru line, which has been the norm since The Keystone State closed all of its non-essential businesses.
“The Pennsylvanians have been buying us out. As you can see on our shelves, we sold plenty and we had to keep ordering more,” said Slade Bowers, Gaetano’s manager.
The same is true at A&C Beverage in downtown Youngstown, where the store is large enough to allow people inside, but in limited numbers.
“The clientele was so huge at any given time here that we ended up having to cut it to 10 people in the room at any one time, then there would be 60, 70, 80 people sitting outside,” said Al Franceschelli, A&C Beverage’s owner.
The staff at A&C was also hit hard by the outbreak.
“At our store, there’s five of our employees that aren’t working because of the virus, so we were caught short-handed,” Franceschelli said.
With the governor’s order now in place, both Gaetano’s and A&C Beverage believe business will return to pre-outbreak levels. But, Franceschelli believes that the change is for the best.
“It isn’t like [you’re] going to be a millionaire selling it. It doesn’t work that way. So that being the case, it’s just not worth [getting] sick and dying over selling a bottle of liquor,” he said.