Florida Legislature looks to change alcohol delivery rules

ORALNDO, Fla. — When the pandemic hit last year, many restaurants and bars closed over COVID-19 concerns, and with those closures came a huge loss of income.

Many businesses turned to home delivery in order to stay in business, but under current Florida rules, restaurants weren’t allowed to include alcohol.

So when Gov. Ron DeSantis signed his executive order in March of 2020, he included a provision that suspended those rules as a way to help struggling restaurants.

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Now even though restaurants have seen a slight increase in in-person dining, many still rely on home delivery.

In September, while meeting with several restaurant owners, DeSantis said he was open to the idea of making the changes permanent.

“I would encourage the legislature to just make that permanent because I think that you guys need all the help you can get, and I think it would make a lot of sense,” DeSantis said.

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Now two proposed bills in the Florida Legislature would do just that.

HB 329 and SB 134 would allow restaurants to sell wine and liquor “to-go”, provided it is in a sealed container and accompanied by food.

If approved, Florida would join a growing number of states that have made alcohol to go a permanent part of their liquor laws.

Currently, 33 states and Washington, D.C. allow restaurants and bars to sell alcohol to go.

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Once approved, the new rules would go into effect July 1, 2021.

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