Drinking cocktails on takeaway is one step closer to becoming permanent in Florida

The bill passed the Florida Senate at around 4:50 pm — just in time for happy hour.

Wednesday lawmakers approved Senate Bill 148This will allow Floridian to purchase takeaway alcoholic beverages and delivery orders from restaurants with some restrictions. For example, the bill would allow only restaurants with a dining area of ​​2,500 square feet or more and a capacity of 150 or more to serve take-out alcohol.

Senator Jennifer Bradley of R-Fleming Island, who sponsors the bill, said she had her bill State of emergency From last March.

Signed by Governor Rondesantis on March 20, 2020, the order was intended to give a lifeline to local restaurants whose businesses were devastated by the pandemic.

“I promise to help retailers, restaurants, and their employees pursue creative business practices that safely serve consumers during this temporary social distance. I will, “read DeSantis’ executive order.

Alcohol sales are one of Florida’s most regulated areas of commerce. For years, supporters of the restaurant industry have wanted to change Florida legislation to allow customers to consume alcoholic beverages outside the restaurant’s premises.

But it wasn’t until the coronavirus pandemic that such a bill became politically viable in Tallahassee, said Samantha Padgett, general counsel of the Florida Restaurant and Lodges Association, which supported SB148.

But the bill that passed the Senate did not please everyone. Senator Audrey Gibson was one of two “opposite” votes on Wednesday. The Democratic Party of Jacksonville said it voted against the bill to exclude small businesses.

Indeed, only restaurants with a special restaurant license have a large dining area and can sell takeaway alcoholic beverages under the bill.

Other restrictions included in the bill: Drinks sold for off-site consumption must not exceed 32 ounces. It cannot be a factory sealed hard liquor or a takeaway bottle. Alcohol delivery orders must include food orders.

Similar measures, HB 329, May be featured at Florida House at any time. If it passes the Chamber of Commerce and DeSantis signs the bill, the policy will come into effect on July 1.