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Bars in Florida can no longer serve alcohol for on-site amid COVID-19 spike

alcoholic drinks at a bar
Posted at 11:35 AM, Jun 26, 2020

The state of Florida is once again suspending the consumption of alcohol on the premises at bars amid a spike in COVID-19 cases.

The state's Department of Business and Professional Regulation made the announcement Friday morning.

The news comes as Florida continues to set records for daily increases in COVID-19 cases, with Friday's numbers showing nearly 9,000 new cases.

In the emergency order, Halsey Beshears, Secretary of Florida's Department of Business and Professional Regulation orders the following:

  • Vendors licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on their premises, that derive more than 50% of gross revenue from those sales, have to suspend the sales of alcohol
  • Those vendors may continue to sell alcoholic beverages in sealed containers for consumption off the premises
  • Restaurants may continue to sell alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption as long as 50% or less of their gross revenue comes from the sale of alcoholic beverages

Read the order below

Bars were allowed to reopen earlier this month as part of Governor DeSantis' Phase 2 of reopening.

It is unclear at this time if any of the other Phase 2 reopenings will be impacted by this.

The order goes into effect immediately.

Just three weeks after welcoming customers back into Obrien's Irish Pub, owner Teresa Brennan has been forced to shut it down for the second time this year.

"So we’re back to square one again," a frustrated Brennan said Friday. "For my staff in particular that are going to be out of work again, they can’t get unemployment, it’s been very difficult."

Images of Tampa Bay bars ignoring social distancing guidelines, packing in patrons with no masks in part fueled Friday's new ban.

Pictures provided by Pinellas County Administrator Barry Burton show a large crowd packed inside Ringside Cafe in St. Pete on June 13.

ABC Action News reporter Ryan Smith asked the owner of The Independent in Seminole Heights if they are paying a crippling price because others didn't follow the rules.

"Absolutely," said Veronica Danko. "It's irresponsible bar owners and operators as well as irresponsible customers that are causing a problem and keeping the rest of us closed down."