Florida restricts on-premises alcohol consumption

The Department of Business and Professional Regulation reported to Historic City News that, effective today, all vendors licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises who derive more than 50% of gross revenue from such sales of alcoholic beverages shall suspend such sales of alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises.

Those vendors may continue to sell alcoholic beverages in sealed containers for consumption off the premises in accordance with Executive Order 20-7 I, Sections I and 2.

“COVID-19 poses a risk to the entire state of Florida. All counties in Florida have identified positive cases for Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019,” the Secretary stated.  “The severe acute respiratory illness can spread among humans through respiratory transmission, displaying symptoms similar to those of influenza.”

Vendors who are also licensed as public food service establishments or “restaurants” under Chapter 509, Florida Statutes, 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% or less of gross revenue from the sale of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption.

On June 3, 2020, Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-139 initiating Phase 2 of the “Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step.” plan for Florida’s recovery.  Under Phase 2, bars and other vendors licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises were given permission to operate at fifty (50) percent of their indoor capacity, so long as they provided seated service only.

But this month, the number of individuals testing positive for COVID-19 increased significantly in the State of Florida, especially among younger individuals, and some of these cases involving younger individuals are suspected to have originated from visits to bars, pubs, or nightclubs who have disregarded the restrictions set forth in Phase 2.

Non-compliance by bars and other vendors licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises is suspected throughout the State to such a degree as to make individualized enforcement efforts impractical and insufficient.