Exemption may allow outside dining with dogs

St. Augustine commissioners may now consider and pass exemptions to the food and drug law that prohibits dogs from eating at restaurants in outdoor dining areas according to a legislative update received by Historic City News.

Legislation a couple of years ago created a pilot program in Orlando to allow a local exemption so that patrons could dine outside with their dogs.

Today, Governor Crist gave his approval to HB 425, a catch-all Department of Business and Professional Regulation bill that became a home for a number of regulatory issues.

The DBPR bill expands the Orlando exemption to allow any local government that wants to pass an ordinance allowing outdoor doggy dining to do so.

The same bill contained a provision that was the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association’s top priority – language to continue the Hospitality Education Program, or HEP.

The language earmarks some of the money from annual hotel and restaurant license fees for programs in schools like St. Augustine’s First Coast Technical College that prepare students for careers in the restaurant and hospitality industry.

Photo credit: Historic City News photographer Kerry McGuire

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