Things Not So Sunny In The Sunshine State For Barflies
The fun in the Sunshine State has been tapped out, bottled up, sealed without a kiss, for barflies
With little warning – just a few hours, in fact – Halsey Beshears, secretary of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, banned Florida bars from selling alcohol on Friday, June 26. A few hours later, Gov. Ron DeSantis endorsed the move.
And just like that, Florida’s nightlife halted like traffic at a toll plaza.
“Effective immediately, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation is suspending on premises consumption of alcohol at bars statewide,‘’ Beshears posted on Twitter.
“The reason why DBPR [did] it is because you had people that weren’t following it, there was widespread non-compliance, and that led to issues,‘’ DeSantis said. “So folks, just follow the guidelines. … When you part from that, then it becomes problematic.”
But there is an asterisk. Restaurants can serve alcohol. But not a bar, which is defined as a place that earns more than 50% of its money from alcohol. Restaurants can continue to serve drinks as long as they don’t get more than half of their revenue from alcohol. And bars and breweries can serve drinks-to-go; they just can’t serve them to patrons inside he business.
So of course, what’s the point of going to a bar if you can’t drink, so this measure essentially closes bars throughout the state.
All this in response to a rise in COVID-19 positive test results, and in particular to some bars around the University of Central Florida in Orlando not adhering to social distancing guidelines. The Knight’s Pub reportedly had 41 staff and patrons test positive this week.
“If you go in and it’s just like mayhem, like ‘Dance Party USA’ and it’s packed to the rafters, that’s just cut and dry and that’s not just an innocent mistake,” DeSantis said earlier in the week.“No tolerance for that. Just suspend the license, and then we’ll move on.”
So bars throughout the state – and the people who go to them – are paying the price for a few bars that were apparently not being socially responsible.