Bristle Software Coronavirus Tips

This page is offered as a service of Bristle Software, Inc.  New tips are sent to an associated mailing list when they are posted here.  Please send comments, corrections, any tips you'd like to contribute, or requests to be added to the mailing list, to tips@bristle.com.

Table of Contents (links to this and other pages):
  1. Coronavirus row of Fred's links page
  2. Coronavirus humor
  3. Webinar, Video Conference, Screen Sharing Services
    1. Jitsi Meet
    2. Zoom
    3. Crowdcast
  4. Buying alcohol
    1. Buying alcohol in PA
    2. Buying alcohol in IL
    3. Buying alcohol in VA
Details of Tips:
  1. Buying alcohol

    Original Version: 4/22/2020
    Last Updated: 4/22/2020

    Where to buy alcohol in various places, with so many businesses closed due to Coronavirus?  Here are some answers.  Feel free to email answers for more places to tips@bristle.com.

    --Fred

    1. Buying alcohol in PA

      Original Version: 4/22/2020
      Last Updated: 4/29/2020

      In Pennnsylvania, even before the Coronavirus pandemic, the rules were complicated:

      • Beer, no more than 2 six-packs, at any bar or restaurant.  If you want more than 2 six-packs, you have to bring multiple people of legal age, to each carry 2 out of the bar.  Or make multiple transactions, leaving and coming back in each time.

      • Beer, no less than a case, at a "beer distributor".

      • Beer, in recent years, in some grocery stores.  Same volume limits as bars and restaurants.  Some places sell single bottles, or mix-your-own six-packs.  Near me in PA, grocery stores selling it include: Wegmans, Acme, but not Giant.

      • Wine, in recent years, in some grocery stores.  No containers above 3 liters.  No more than 2 liters (or one 3-liter container) at a time.  As with beer from bars, bring multiple people or do multiple transactions for more.  Near me in PA, same grocery stores as beer.

      • Wine and hard liquor at PA state-run "State Stores" (re-named a few years ago to "Fine Wine & Good Spirits Shoppes")

      • Wine and hard liquor, online at:
      • Per Laurie Dameshek:
        Can order wine and spirits from out of state and have them delivered.  Examples:
      • See full rules at the PA Liquor Control Board:

      During the Coronavirus pandemic:

      • Beer still being sold at same places as before, with same rules. 

      • Wine still being sold in grocery stores, with same rules.  The rules, plus the extra Coronavirus caution, can make it tedious to stock up. 

        My experience
        My wife and I buy wine every month or two.  Usually, we're in and out of the state store with a couple 5-liter boxes in 2 minutes.  This time, state store was closed (see below), so I went to Wegmans.  No 5-liter boxes.  Nothing bigger than 3 liters.  And very few of those.  Maybe 20 total, instead of 500.  "New truck in 2 days with 1,000 units, but it won't last long." 

        OK.  I grabbed a few boxes.  Then I learned about the volume limits.  Had to buy 1 box at a time.  Had to go to the car and back each time.  Wait in line briefly to re-enter the store.  Re-sanitize my hands.  Wait in line briefly at the register.  Show my id.  Use my credit card.  Switch to another card when that one stopped working (rapid-fire transactions looked like fraud?)  Leave by the main exit, far from the alcohol checkout lane, but close to my car.  Re-enter by the main entrance, far from my car.  Lather, rinse, repeat!

        I did 6 quarter-mile laps in under an hour.  Missed the Java User Group meeting webinar (but caught the recorded replay the next day).  My wife is a happy camper!

      • No wine or hard liquor at "Fine Wine & Good Spirits Shoppes".  They're all closed.  About to re-open Mon 4/27/2020 for curbside pickup only.  Reduced hours.  May have to place your order in advance by phone and pay over phone by credit card.  See:
      • Wine and hard liquor still online, but can handle limited total volume per day.  The site allows "randomized access" to some users.  Other users see the following.  I guess you can keep trying till you get lucky?

      • Per Laurie Dameshek:
        Can still order from out of state and have it delivered.

      • See full rules at the PA Liquor Control Board:

      --Fred

    2. Buying alcohol in IL

      Original Version: 4/23/2020
      Last Updated: 4/23/2020

      Per Dave Weiss:
      You can (still) buy beer and wine at the supermarkets in Chicago, and I have passed a few liquor stores (well, they sell more than just liquor, but that's their main product) that are open.

      --Fred

    3. Buying alcohol in VA

      Original Version: 4/23/2020
      Last Updated: 4/23/2020

      Per Phil Hostetter:
      Here's the VA story:

      They do tend to close stores if an employee tests positive -- last I heard there were ten closed.  But, as a very long-time MD and DC shopper, I've been pleased to find that VA is now price-competitive, with good monthly specials.  I mostly buy vodka, which I infuse with gin spices to make a good imitation of gin.

      --Fred