Pennsylvania’s brick-and-mortar liquor stores may still be shuttered due to business restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic, but the commonwealth’s online spirits shops are back open for business — and facing “overwhelming demand.”
In fact, demand was so great Wednesday that the Pennsylvania Fine Wine and Good Spirits website was unavailable to most users almost as soon as the online delivery service was restored, instead displaying an apology: “Due to overwhelming demand, the online store is not available at this time. Please try again tomorrow or in the coming days.”
Access to the website will be randomized throughout the day to avoid overwhelming the site, according to a release from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.
Customers will be limited to purchasing up to six bottles per transaction from a reduced catalogue, the board said, and all orders must be shipped to home or non-store addresses. Only one order per address will be fulfilled per day.
“Our liquor stores are closed, and I think that’s going to be good for employees in the liquor stores,” Gov. Tom Wolf said at a Wednesday news briefing, adding that the shuttered shops make “one less place that disease can be spread.”
“But in the meantime, we have opened up online sales,” he said. “So you can use the online service and that is the way to buy liquor during this crisis. That’s the safe way to do it. And that’s how we’re doing it in Pennsylvania."
In the days before Pennsylvania’s liquor stores closed in compliance with Wolf’s nonessential business shutdown, statewide alcohol sales shot up by more than 58%, according to the liquor control board.