ORMOND BEACH, Fla. – Gov. Ron Desantis on Thursday signed a bill that permanently allows Florida restaurants to sell alcoholic drinks with take-home meals.
The bill, SB 148, is an extension of an executive order that DeSantis issued last year to help restaurants that had to scale back operations in the early stages of the pandemic.
“And so this was something that we were happy to see that it worked well people liked it there was a good response. And so we said, you know, this should be something that we just make permanent, and I think the legislature looked to do it, and they wanted to make it done in a way that would benefit our restaurants and our bars but do it in a way that was obviously safe for the public and I think they’ve done it with SB 148,” DeSantis said during a news conference in Ormond Beach.
The restaurant industry, which lobbied for the permanent change, applauded the bill after it passed.
“When other states are shutting down our governor was looking for ways to stay open, looking for ways to give our businesses options and choices, and he did just that when he signed his executive order, giving restaurants, the ability to mirror their in restaurant operations with alcohol to go in the to-go environment that really became central to so many business models,” said Republican lawmaker Jennifer Bradley of Fleming Island who was a sponsor of the bill.
The bill requires cutting off the sale of to-go drinks when restaurants’ scheduled food service ends for the day or at midnight.
The to-go option would be available to restaurants that have special alcoholic-beverage licenses and get at least 51 percent of revenue from food and non-alcoholic sales.