Florida DBPR suspends on-premises consumption of alcohol at bars statewide

The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation is suspending on-premises consumption of alcohol at bars statewide.

The Emergency Order 2020-09 is effective immediately.

The department announced this new rule on Twitter Friday morning.

As for bars now, they’re basically out of business. They can open their doors but cannot serve alcohol, so, they say, what’s the point?

The news came without warning and has bar owners in SWFL fired up.

“It takes a lot to get opened up, both financially physically mentally just to get it rolling and steer it then, bam,” said Andrew Grey, owner of Rackem Spirits and Times.

He and other bar owners are devastated, fearing they and their employees won’t survive a second shutdown.

“I feel bad for my staff,” Grey said. “It’s tough thinking about it.”

“Are we going to be able to survive this time,” asked owner of Bar 17, Russ Bellerose. “I don’t know.”

On Thursday, popular Cape Coral bar Dixie Roadhouse posted on Facebook saying their dance night would look a little different with only 25% capacity. Friday, the Florida DBPR sent out the tweet suspending the consumption of alcohol at bars statewide effective immediately. Why? The spike in COVID-19 cases.

“That’s something to be concerned about, but to say you’re the fault? Well, I’ll look back at him and say, ‘Governor DeSantis, you’re the fault. I don’t agree with the things you did,'” Grey said.

This order does not include restaurants or places that have more than 50% of revenue from food sales.

“I think it’s unfair to bars,” said Alexa Kerinuk of Cape Coral.

It comes as younger people are now making up the bulk of the coronavirus cases in Florida.

“We were coming down to visit a friend we go to college with, so it is a little bumming to hear,” said Adam Byram. “It’s understandable with everything going on.”

As for enforcement, Cape Coral police say its officers will keep an extra eye out for places not following the rules. If they find a bar breaking the rules, they will take a report and send it to the Department of Business Regulations, who handles the penalties, including the loss of a liquor license.

DBPR Secretary Halsey Beshears later said, “Based on recent increases in COVID-19 cases and non-compliance with previous orders, DBPR has taken action to suspend on-premises alcohol sales at bars. DBPR believes this is a necessary step to take to protect public health as we continue working in partnership with industry and health officials to combat COVID-19.”

As filed on June 26, 2020, DBPR Emergency Order 2020-09 suspends the sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises for all vendors licensed for such sale who derive more than 50 percent of gross revenue from the sale of alcoholic beverages. Notwithstanding this suspension of sales for on-premises consumption, these vendors may continue to sell alcoholic beverages in sealed containers for consumption off the premises in accordance with Executive Order 20-71, Sections 1 and 2. Licensed restaurants also may continue to operate for on-premises consumption of food and beverages at tables pursuant to the restrictions in Executive Order 20-139, so long as these vendors derive 50 percent or less of gross revenue from the sale of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption.

Click to access 467057085-Emergency-Order-2020-09.pdf


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Reporter:Dannielle Garcia
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