Beer deli owners unhappy as amended bill on windows moves … –

After a nearly daylong hearing attended by more than 200 protesters, a City Council committee Monday approved a measure that would give licensing officials the authority to ban safety glass windows inside beer delis.

City Councilwoman Cindy Bass called it a win for everybody — but beer deli owners and their advocates were not happy.

The initial bill, as introduced by Bass, would prohibit beer delis and other food establishments that sell alcohol from maintaining or erecting barrier windows between food workers and customers. Bass had called the windows an “indignity,” saying it felt as if beer deli owners were serving food to customers considered dangerous or in “prison.”

After hearing 22 witnesses testify — most in favor of the bill — the seven-member Committee on Public Health and Human Services, chaired by Bass, passed an amended version. The bill now instructs the city’s Department of Licenses and Inspections to “promulgate regulations to provide for the use or removal of any physical barrier” in places that serve food and alcohol by no later than Jan. 1, 2021.

The amended bill is expected to go up for a full Council vote Dec. 14.

“What we’re asking L&I to do is come up with some regulations,” Bass said after the hearing. The issue regarding the barrier window is still “on the table,” she said.

Adam Xu, chairman of the Asian American Licensed Beverage Association of Philadelphia, said he found the amendment “very confusing.”

He testified passionately that if beer delis were ordered to remove protective windows, other businesses including banks and gas stations may be next.

“We try to be better neighbors,” he said of his association, which he said represents 230 beer delis. “If you can come up with a law to give us better protection, …

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