A new law has been passed in Florida by Governor DeSantis that will allow certain restaurants to provide alcoholic beverages with a “to-go” option. Originally set up as an emergency measure during COVID-19, the rule has now become permanent in Florida law after it kept restaurants afloat during difficult times.
Governor DeSantis stated that the law is “an important measure to continue the positive economic impacts of a temporary order.”
Which Restaurants Does It Apply To?
The “to go” alcohol law is established by Senate Bill 148: Beverage Law. It states that the Bill:
“permits certain public food service establishments (restaurants) with an alcoholic beverage vendor license to sell and deliver for off-premises consumption alcoholic beverage drinks prepared and sealed by the vendor under certain conditions.”
The Bill only applies to certain kinds of restaurants, and not all places that sell food will be able to take advantage of this. The Bill states that it applies to restaurants with a “quota alcoholic beverage” license. This means that only those restaurants that have a license to sell beer, wine and liquor for on-premises consumption are allowed to offer the “to go” alcohol.
Restaurants that have special alcoholic beverage licenses, also called “SRX licensees” are also allowed to take advantage of the new law.
For restaurants operating under SRX licences and wanting to offer “to go” beverages under the new law, they must also meet a number of other conditions. Specifically, the Bill states that they must derive at least “51 percent of gross food and beverage revenue from the sale of food and nonalcoholic beverages.” Further, these restaurants are not permitted to sell alcoholic beverages after the hours of serving or consumption of food are over.
Restaurants with SRX licenses will be aware that they are not usually permitted to sell manufacturer-sealed containers of beer and wine for off-premises consumption. However, under the new law they will be permitted to do so.
If drinks are sealed by the licensee, they are allowed to be delivered (such as with a delivery order). However, distilled spirits are not allowed to be sold for off-premises consumption.
For restaurants operating under the “quota alcoholic beverage” license, they are only allowed to sell alcohol under the new law if the following conditions are met:
- They are a “public food service establishment” as defined under ch. 509, F.S.
- The sale or delivery of alcohol is part of a food order
- The cost of food and non-alcoholic drinks makes up at least 40 percent of the total cost of the order, and
- The sale or delivery of the alcoholic drinks does not occur after food preparation has stopped for the day or midnight, whichever is earlier.
What Other Rules Apply To Sales?
The law also includes a number of other requirements that businesses should be careful to comply with. First, drinks have to be in sealed cups/bottles etc. with an unbroken seal, and in bags or containers that are sealed in such a way that it can be determined whether they have been tampered with.
If a delivery vehicle is delivering alcohol as part of an order, the drinks must be in a “locked compartment, locked trunk, or other area behind the last upright seat of the motor vehicle.”
Finally, alcoholic drinks are not allowed to be included in any order for any person under 21.
Have Questions About How This New Law Applies to Your Restaurant?
If you want to know more about this new law and how it applies to you, Stechschulte Nell can help. Attorney Ben Stechschulte is a Florida board-certified trial lawyer and will ensure that you are operating within the new Florida law. We are available 24/7 to take your call and discuss the specifics of the new Florida “To-Go” law.
If you are partaking in “to-go” alcoholic beverages be safe and consume them in a responsible manner at home.
Contact our Tampa, FL law firm at (813) 280-1244 to speak with our attorneys today.