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Florida suspends consumption of alcohol at bars statewide

Bar patron
Bar patron (Pexels)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation has ordered business owners to refrain from serving alcohol at bars statewide, effective immediately, officials announced Friday.

The move comes after some restaurants and bars across the state have come under scrutiny for packing their establishments and not following social distancing guidelines.

DBPR issued Emergency Order 2020-09, effective June 26, 2020, which “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.”

The orders said vendors may continue to sell alcoholic beverages in sealed containers for consumption off the premises.

Despite the new alcohol bar ban, alcoholic beverages may still be served to patrons who are dining at a restaurant.

On Saturday, Miami-Dade County’s Mayor Carlos Gimenez issued a press release stating that the restaurant, Swan, and two others had been temporarily shut down by the city of Miami police for violating re-opening rules.

Swan, along with Astra in Wynwood and El Secreto Bar and Grill in Little Havana were cited after reports that the county’s “New Normal” rules were not being followed.

Owners of non-compliant businesses may face a $500 fine and up to 180 days in jail.

Meanwhile, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation announced earlier this week that it had suspended the alcoholic beverage vendor license to The Knight’s Pub in Orlando after 13 employees tested positive for COVID-19.

Through contact tracing, the Florida Department of Health determined that at least 28 patrons tested positive for COVID-19 after visiting the bar, officials said.

It’s unclear whether any COVID-19 outbreaks have occurred at any South Florida restaurants or bars, however, the popular Willie T’s Restaurant and Bar in Key West confirmed that it was temporarily closing after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.

“In the interest of the health, well-being and safety of our staff, our locals, the tourists and our community as a whole, we have decided to close and self-isolate until further notice,” a statement posted to the business’ Facebook page read. “Please be safe, and we hope to see you all soon!”

About the Authors:

Amanda Batchelor is the managing editor for Local10.com.

Christina returned to Local 10 in 2019 as a reporter after covering Hurricane Dorian for the station. She is an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and previously earned an Emmy Award while at WPLG for her investigative consumer protection segment "Call Christina."