ORMOND BEACH, Fla. – To-go alcohol is now a permanent part in Florida’s restaurant industry after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law Thursday morning in Ormond Beach.
The governor signed SB 148 into law, allowing restaurants to include alcoholic drinks and bottles to be included in to-go meals. This way in the industry was introduced last year in an executive order as a way to deal with the pandemic and help restaurants “weather the storm.”
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The order was to help restaurants adjust their business in the wake of capacity restrictions during the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s probably the most difficult year that, that the restaurant industry has had to face, certainly in recent time,” DeSantis said. “And yet you look at Florida, not that it was a piece of cake, but now this industry is really thriving in Florida.”
The governor said this bill is meant to fuel the momentum the industry has going. Department of Business and Professional Regulation Secretary Julie Brown joined the governor, reiterating the impact the pandemic had on the industry.
“Countless restaurant owners throughout the state have pointed to the option of selling or delivering alcohol to-go as really the critical link, that being able to survive during the challenging times,” she said.
While this bill will help sales among restaurants, another challenge the industry is facing along with other industries is filling job positions. The governor said he is looking to make changes to state unemployment that would make it “a safety net” versus a permanent solution for some.
“There’s a lot of jobs and not just in restaurants and a whole bunch of other things. We’re fortunate that we have those openings, but obviously you know we want to make sure that that we get people back on their feet as we move forward,” DeSantis said.
This signing follows the governor’s bill-signing Wednesday in Tarpon Springs that established a resilient Florida grant program to fund local projects addressing flooding throughout the state.
DeSantis said the program would allow the state to partner with local governments to address “coastal resiliency and the protection of our coastal communities, infrastructure and residents.”
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