Pennsylvanians can now make a run to state liquor stores despite the coronavirus shutdown. They just can’t get out of their cars when they get there.
Of Pennsylvania’s 600 stores, 565 are now offering curbside pickup for customers who call ahead and place an order, and many are in Philadelphia and its suburbs.
Before the commonwealth’s Fine Wine and Good Spirits stores closed March 17, households across the region stocked up on vodka, margarita mix, and boxed wine. The state reported nearly $30 million in liquor sales the day before the shutdown.
The online liquor stores technically reopened on April 1, but many haven’t been able to place delivery orders on the site because of “overwhelming demand.”
On April 20, the state reopened its “Premium Collection” stores for call-ahead curbside pickup. In the first four days of the curbside pickup program, the liquor control board made $3.64 million on more than 38,000 orders.
A week later, they expanded to offer the service at nearly all stores.
If your liquor cabinet is looking a little empty, here are some answers about the new curbside pickup system:
How do I place an order?
First, call the nearest open liquor store (phone numbers can be found below) after 9 a.m. Monday through Saturday. Most stores will accept the first 50 to 100 orders, so call early. An employee will tell you what’s available at the store and can take your order.
Have your credit card ready, because the Liquor Control Board says all payments must be made over the phone. They’ll schedule a pickup time with you between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., perhaps even on the same day if time slots are available.
When you show up to pick up your order, stay in your car and it’ll be brought out to you.
What if I don’t have a car?
Customers may also walk up to stores to pick up their purchases, the Liquor Control Board said.
But remember you still have to call ahead to place the order, pay, and receive a scheduled pickup time from store employees. When you arrive, of course, you won’t be able to walk inside the store like usual. Wait outside at least six feet from others.
Are there limits to what I can order?
Each store will only accept one order per caller per day, and that order can’t exceed six bottles. They also won’t accept returns.
What about delivery?
You can opt for that when you call to place your order, the Liquor Control Board says, and the booze will be delivered via UPS.
Should I expect delays?
The stores braced for them after the huge demand for online orders in early April.
“We ask you to remain patient if you don’t get through by phone right away,” Fine Wine and Good Spirits said in a statement. “We’re optimistic our capacity to fulfill orders through our website and curbside pickup will increase in the coming weeks."
After its first week of curbside pickup, and customer frustration about busy signals, the Liquor Control Board said it made updates to speed up the ordering and pickup process.
Is my neighborhood liquor store open for pickup?
Maybe. If not, there’s likely a store within driving distance.
Premium Fine Wine and Good Spirits locations in several towns are offering the service. A complete list of the state’s open stores can be found on the Liquor Control Board’s website.
Below are the open stores:
Staff Writers Mike Klein and Jen Ladd contributed to this article.