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DeSantis allows Florida restaurants to deliver alcohol during pandemic

Food must be ordered along with alcoholic drinks

DAVIE, Fla. – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Friday he is allowing restaurants to deliver alcohol during the pandemic, but the alcohol must go with food that is picked up or delivered.

After limiting entry to restaurants across the state of Florida to 50 percent capacity, Florida Gov. Ron Desantis ordered that restaurants shut down, only allowing for take out or delivery. Executive Order 20-71 directs all restaurants and food establishment in Florida to stop serving food and alcohol on premises. Establishments, the order said, can operate their kitchens for the purpose of providing delivery or take-out services.

Desantis said allowing alcohol may help the restaurants during the limited food-service.

“We are going to take out and delivery only, which is somewhat unfortunate because it is going to be hard for some of these restaurants to survive in this environment, but one way I think we can help them is to be able to deliver alcohol as well with meals.” Anyone getting alcoholic beverages delivered will be required to show valid identification.

Business owners feeling pinch

Matt Falcone, who owns Burger-Fi in Davie is feeling the pinch of the coronavirus. He said his store income is down about 50 percent.

Falcone has a table set up in front of his door that he said is the staging area for pick ups. “We are not letting anyone into the restaurant.”

He said his employees must have gloves on at all times and the front table is wiped down continuously.

The governor’s executive order shuts down bars, taverns, pubs, nightclubs, breweries and any other alcohol or food service that seats more than 10 people.

There are some restaurants that can still operate., however. The executive order allows for restaurants within airports, ports, secure facilities and hospitals.

Falcone said that while he knows his business and other restaurants are hurting right now, he believes drastic measures are needed to stop the spread of the COVID-19

“I think that they should probably shut everything down sooner than later. If it was up to me, I would go to a full shut down so we could get rid of this issue a lot quicker,” said Falcone.

Business owners have noticed that customers ordering their food for take out, picking it up and then congregating in front of the business. In some cases, they stop to eat their food. Officials discourage this and so do the business owners. Their recommendation? Pick up your food and take it home. This is a time we should be practicing social distancing, not socializing.

Gym closures

The same executive requires the closures of gymnasiums and fitness centers within the State of Florida.

“The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) shall utilize its authorities under Florida law to further implement and enforce the provisions of this Executive Order and shall take additional measures as necessary to protect the public health, safety and welfare,” according to a memorandum.

About the Authors:

Roy Ramos joined the Local 10 News team in 2018. Roy is a South Florida native who grew up in Florida City. He attended Christopher Columbus High School, Homestead Senior High School and graduated from St. Thomas University.

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local 10.com.