Florida Bans On-Premises Consumption of Alcohol in Bars

Empty bar
One margarita to go. Florida's bars are no longer allowed to serve alcohol to on-site customers.

Friday nights are not the same without a couple of rounds of beer at your favorite bar or watering hole. However, that won’t be the case in Florida tonight after the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) announced the suspension of “on-premises consumption” of alcohol in all bars statewide.

DBPR Secretary Halsey Beshears said the order takes effect immediately but clarified that vendors can still sell alcohol for takeout in sealed containers.

 

The order also called out younger bar patrons “who have disregarded the restrictions” earlier set by the state to Florida to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Florida’s coronavirus toll climbed to almost 123,000 cases. As of Friday evening, the Florida Department of Health confirmed that 3,365 people had died. The state also confirmed 8,942 additional cases from the day before, setting a new record high for the Sunshine State.

In a news conference, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said: “When people follow the guidelines, we’ve not had any problems. You’ve not had any issues.” “The reason DBPR took it is because you had people that weren’t following it. There was widespread non-compliance, and that led to issues,” he added.

DeSantis also appealed to residents to strictly follow social distancing guidelines and other coronavirus guidelines. He stressed that the situation becomes problematic when people depart from that.

Restaurants in 64 counties, excluding Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties, are currently under Phase Two of Florida’s reopening plan. This means restaurants may allow customers bar-top seating provided they follow proper social distancing.

Bars and pubs may also operate at 50% capacity indoors and run full capacity outside.