A Levittown pub owner is calling on the General Assembly to give more financial help to bars and taverns throughout the Commonwealth.
Tom Tyler has owned McStew’s Irish Sports Pub for the last decade. The hot spot on New Falls Road in Levittown used to bring in a packed house even on weekdays, but not anymore.
Along with being a pub owner, Tyler is also president of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association. The group represents 400 individually-owned bars.
In the pandemic, Tyler says some restrictions are clearly targeting bars. These currently include no alcohol sales without a meal, no seating at bars indoors, and limited indoor capacity.
“This industry is at the brink of extinction,” said Tyler. “These small mom and pop shops are the life line of how they exist.”
These mitigation measures have been even stricter under more targeted periods. The PA Department of Health banned alcohol sales on Thanksgiving Eve and New Years Eve.
He testified to the state House Commerce Committee that the industry needs help fast.
“We ask for your expedited assistance.”
Tyler shared stories of association members from Bucks and throughout the state whose businesses are hurting. Some have permanently closed.
“If I put all my bills in one hand,” he read, “and all my income in the other, which is zero, what do you think is going to happen. It makes me sick to my stomach every time I go to the mailbox and see bills and taxes due, and a lack of being able to pay them at no fault of my own.”
The state Senate unanimously passed a $912 million COVID-19 relief package last Wednesday. But Tyler says the included $145 million in grants for the hospitality industry is not enough.
Local State Rep. John Galloway (D-Bucks), Democratic Chair of the committee, said there are some bills in the works.
“We have really, really good legislation on both sides of the aisle. This is a committee that historically is non-partisan,” said Galloway. “And we have some good ideas. We’re interested to hear what that you want to support going forward.”