The owners of more than 100 breweries from across the state of Florida are warning Gov. Ron DeSantis they could be forced to shut down for good in the next two weeks, News4Jax sister station WKMG reports.
The Florida Brewers Guild posted an open letter on social media Tuesday to DeSantis and the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
They said the financial crisis from the COVID-19 pandemic is slamming breweries, and they’re asking the governor and DBPR to allow them to reopen before thousands of employees end up out of work.
They said their business model is different than bars.
“Our internal polling has revealed that we are likely to lose more than 100 breweries permanently if this continues for more than two weeks,” the letter reads in part.
The letter claims those closures could result in more than 3,000 additional people out of work.
The letter also states that for the first time in recent history, the number of active breweries has actually decreased in number and that this trend will continue if there is not a solution for balancing the health of the community with the economics of this industry.
Robert McKee, chief operating officer for Ellipsis Brewery in Orlando, told WKMG that the “bad actors” of any industry need to be dealt with, but he is following the CDC guidelines and trying to keep his customers safe.
“Take action against individuals who choose to not abide by the rules not an entire industry,” McKee told WKMG.
The letter also argues that breweries don’t operate like traditional bars.
“We’re not rowdy. We’re not dancing. Nobody’s cluttered around the bar,” McKee said.
WKMG has reached out to the governor’s office and DBPR for a comment on the letter they received, and they have not responded.
The Florida Brewers Guild said it will continue to post the letter online and send copies of it to both government agencies until they get results.