READING, Pa. – The sounds of a shaking cocktail being made means more money being brought into an industry still fighting its way out of the pandemic.
"Without those lifelines, a lot of us would not be in business today," said Chris Flowers, owner of the Reading Distillery Guild. "We are still trying to dig out of that time."
The lifelines include being able to seat more guests outside and take cocktails out the door — an option that may have disappeared had it not been for a state Senate bill narrowly passed Wednesday to keep it.
"I was hopeful that it wouldn't go away," Flowers said. "I was in contact with some of the representatives in our area and they said they were trying to get it to stay, at least temporarily 'til the end of the year."
Another issue that continues to trouble the industry is bringing enough people back to work so restaurants can return to normal hours.
"Whether they're closing earlier or perhaps closing a couple days a week," said Ben Fileccia, director of operations for the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association. "It's a real troubling situation right now."
The PRLA is urging restaurant and bar owners to apply today for the outdoor seating and to-go cocktail permits so they won't have to wait 30 days.
Meanwhile, they hope the legislation passes the House.
"We've seen similar legislation being passed in all the other states across the country and Pennsylvania should be on board," Fileccia said.