2020-06-28: Arbitrary and Capricious Alcohol Regulations rak ================================================================ The Allegheny County (home to Pittsburgh, PA) Health Department today announced that it was banning on-premises alcohol consumption at restaurants and bars: The Allegheny County Health Department is finalizing an order to take effect at 5 PM on Tuesday, June 30 which will restrict on-premises alcohol consumption at any business establishment in Allegheny County. Consistent with the state’s order, masks will be required in all businesses. The county has additionally ordered that masks in restaurants must be worn even when seated and may only be removed when eating or drinking.  The announced alcohol regulation is arbitrary and capricious when applied to restaurants. Its alleged purpose is to slow the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus; it is highly unlikely that it will have that effect. Indeed, restaurant-goers will still be permitted to order non-alcoholic beverages. What difference does it make to the spread of SARS-CoV-2 if someone has a glass of wine with their meal or a glass of water? In either case, customers need to remove their face masks to eat and drink. Not only is this edict ineffective, but it will hurt already struggling restaurants. It robs restaurants---already operating at only half-capacity---from an important source of income. Most restaurants aimed to make alcohol sales count for about 30% of their revenue before the pandemic . In a sense, this regulation hurts efforts to curb the spread: the more people perceive restrictions as arbitrary or nonsensical, the more likely they are to ignore them. Just look at the total disregard people have for "one-way aisles" in stores. Then again, Pennsylvania is a state where people go to "hot dog restaurants" and to grocery store "cafés" to buy their 6-packs and bottles of wine . Maybe I shouldn't be so surprised.  https://www.alleghenycounty.us/News/2020/Health-Department-2020/6442471852.aspx  https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/local/2020/03/31/can-you-really-order-alcohol-go-during-stay-home-order/5077144002/  Though the state heavily restricts the sale of alcohol in stores, restaurants are allowed to sell up-to two 6-packs of beer or 4 bottles of wine for take-away. Whence the "hot dog restaurants" that have never sold a hot dog.