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To-Go Alcohol Sales, Originally Meant to Be Just For the Pandemic, Become Law in Florida

Photo: Zan
Photo: Zan

Gov. Ron DeSantis has passed a law that will make alcohol-to-go permanent in Florida starting on July 1.

Under an executive order last March, DeSantis allowed restaurants to sell alcohol with to-go and delivery orders of food.

Now, any restaurant that has an alcohol license and derives 51 percent of their revenue from food and alcohol sales can add to-go alcohol as a mainstay on their menu.

Gov. Ron DeSantis says the policy continues to be a lifeline for the struggling restaurant industry during COVID-19.

“It’s not always easy to be in this industry. The margins are not necessarily massive and you got to do a good job if you really want to thrive.”

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DeSantis says the policy in many ways is an example of pandemic-driven innovation in the state.

“When you innovate, when you see. Look if it didn’t work, it wouldn’t have worked and we would have admitted that. But I think it did. I think it was popular. I think the businesses really appreciated it. And now it will be a permanent part of our state’s laws.”

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All to-go alcoholic beverages must be served with food, packed in a sealed container and placed in a trunk or other locked compartment.

Establishments must stop alcohol-to-go sales once food service ends for the night or at midnight, whichever comes first. Sales can only be made to people 21 and up.

Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.