Florida's New "Alcohol - To Go" Proposal is Moving Closer to Becoming Law
The Florida Senate Regulated Industries Committee became the first legislative panel to support a proposal (SB 148) to put into law an executive order by Gov. Ron DeSantis that allows restaurants to include alcoholic drinks or bottles as part of take-home meals.
Bill sponsor Jennifer Bradley, R-Fleming Island, amended her proposal on Tuesday to limit the “to go” option to licensed restaurants, cap individual container sizes at 32 ounces and require motorists to place the drinks in locked compartments, vehicle trunks or in areas behind the last upright seats in vehicles.
Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, “I think that whatever you (can) order off the menu at the restaurant, is what you should be able to order to go,” Gruters said. “But this is a great way to allow restaurants to continue to not only survive but try to earn a living.”
DeSantis included the option in a March 2020 executive order to help provide a source of revenue for restaurants, which had been forced to scale back their operations during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association General Counsel Samantha Padgett says... “Some restaurants have closed, and they may never come back. For many that are hanging on and hanging in, alcohol to go has made all the difference.”