Few industries have been devastated by the Coronavirus more than the restaurant industry. Closed doors, staff cuts and sales landslides. One bright spot for restaurants in several states is a temporary opportunity to offer curbside pickup and delivery of cocktails and bottles of distilled spirits. Though in many cases staff has been reduced by 75% or more some have managed to hang on with this new revenue source and helped them to stay in touch with their most loyal fans in the communities they serve.
The only thing that allowed this to happen was quick action by state governors allowing a temporary change to distilled spirits laws. Now that many restaurants have proven that they can responsibly serve and deliver spirits outside their doors some states are eying extending these temporary changes to help restaurants survive. One of those states is Florida.
“The hospitality industry has been one of the hardest hit during COVID-19,” said Distilled Spirits Council of the United States – DISCUS Vice President of Government Relations Jay Hibbard. “The opportunity for Florida’s restaurants to sell distilled spirits for carry-out and delivery has been a valuable economic lifeline during these past few weeks, but the negative impacts of this pandemic will be long-lasting.”
“Allowing restaurants to continue to sell to-go cocktails will help support struggling hospitality industry workers, while providing adult consumers with the convenience of enjoying their favorite restaurant’s specialty cocktail in the comfort of their home.”
DISCUS Applauds Florida Governors Support of Hospitality Industry
“We applaud Governor DeSantis for continuing to use innovative solutions to support Florida’s hospitality industry.”
“I allowed (restaurants) to deliver alcohol, I think that’s been pretty popular,” said Gov. Ron DeSantis in a report from WKMG News in Orlando. “We’re probably going to keep that going, maybe we’ll have the legislature change the law on that, but I think that that’s been good.”
Florida restaurants like most states have been closed for dine-in service via executive order. For Florida that shut down started March 20. As part of that order, the governor also lifted the ban on distilled spirits take-out and delivery for restaurants as long as purchases were made with food and the spirit was delivered in a sealed container.
The Times They are a Changin’…
- 30 States Allow Restaurants & Bars Distilled Spirits Carry-out
- 18 States Allow Restaurants & Bars Distilled Spirits Delivery
- 12 States Allow Restaurants & Bars Distilled Spirits Curbside Pickup
Currently, 30 states plus the District of Columbia are allowing restaurants and/or bars to sell distilled spirits for carry-out. Eighteen states plus the District of Columbia are allowing restaurants and/or bars to deliver distilled spirits in some form. In addition, 12 states plus the District of Columbia are now permitting curbside pickup of distilled spirits from restaurants and/or bars.
According to DISCUS Texas and New Jersey are also considering extending these policies past COVID-19.
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ST ATE OF FLORIDA
OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR
EXECUTIVE ORDER NUMBER 20-71
(Emergency Management – COVID-19 – Alcohol Sales, Restaurants, and Gyms)
NOW, THEREFORE, I, RON DESANTIS, as Governor of Florida, by virtue of the authority vested in me by Article IV, Section (l)(a) of the Florida Constitution, Chapter 252, Florida Statutes, and all other applicable laws, promulgate the following Executive Order to take immediate effect:
Section 1. Alcohol Sales
- I hereby order all vendors licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises to suspend the sale of alcoholic beverages by the drink or in sealed containers for consumption on the premises. Such vendors may continue to sell alcoholic beverages in sealed containers for consumption off-premises.
- The restriction in section 561.20(2)(a)4., Florida Statutes, prohibiting a specially licensed food service establishment from selling package sales of alcohol for delivery, take-out or consumption off-premises is suspended for restaurants complying with Executive Otder 20-68, through the expiration of the state of emergency declared in Executive Order 20-52, including any
extensions, so long as the following conditions are met:
1) Any sale of an alcoholic beverage in a sealed container for consumption offpremises is accompanied by the sale of food within the same order; and
2) Any delivery of an alcoholic beverage complies with section 561.57, Florida Statutes.
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