bars and restaurants

Bars throughout Florida are opening their doors this week for full service. In an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus, the state government had limited bars without a restaurant license to serving alcohol for off-premise drinking only. That rule has been repealed, but getting by in the meantime has been hard for a few Tallahassee establishments.

After many establishments were closed for months amid the coronavirus pandemic, Florida’s top business regulator believes bar and craft-brewery owners will do a better job this time of self-enforcing state safety restrictions.

But Department of Business and Professional Regulation Secretary Halsey Beshears said Wednesday his agency won’t go easy on bars and breweries that violate rules such as indoor occupancy limits.

State officials sounded the foghorn Monday to let bars serve on-premise alcohol again, but for many Florida establishments, it wasn’t much of a change. Bars throughout Leon County have been using a workaround that allowed them to operate as restaurants.

After a state-wide shutdown, bars were allowed to reopen early in June, but that didn’t last long. State officials said too many people were gathering in large groups and weren’t following social distancing guidelines. They limited bars to serving alcohol only for off-premise consumption. Then officials made another change.

Reopening Offers Florida Bar Owners A Lifeline

Sep 16, 2020
Zoom screenshot / WMFE

Florida bars have been thrown a lifeline with the decision to allow them to reopen at 50 percent capacity. The easing of restrictions took place Monday.

When he announced the move to reopen bars on Friday, Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation Secretary Halsey Beshears said he’d talked to hundreds of bar and brewery owners and seen their commitment to health and safety.

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The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation removed its statewide ban on bars, but in Palm Beach County, restrictions will remain in place.

The county’s step-by-step approach to Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan allows county commissioners to consider spikes in COVID-19 cases.

desantis speaks
flgov.com

Florida is moving closer to fully reopening from its coronavirus restrictions.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Friday that Miami-Dade and Broward counties will move into Phase 2 of the economic recovery program on Monday.

Adults who tested positive for the coronavirus were about twice as likely to have dined at a restaurant within a two-week period prior to becoming sick, according to a new study from Centers For Disease Control and Prevention.

The study looked at 314 adults who had showed symptoms of COVID-19 and had sought testing at one of 11 facilities across 10 states in July. Of the participants, 154 tested positive for COVID-19, while 160 tested negative and served as a control group.

beer taps behind bar
News Service of Florida

Florida bars can open the taps again Monday.

Department of Business and Professional Regulation Secretary Halsey Beshears announced Thursday he was rescinding an emergency order that prevented onsite consumption of alcohol at bars amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Hot dogs, cold sandwiches and Hot Pockets admittedly aren’t fancy fare.

But low-budget, hassle-free cuisine might be a financial godsend for desperate bar owners who’ve been sidelined for months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Tavern owners throughout the state hurriedly are rehabbing behind-the-counter operations, adding triple sinks, carving out prep areas and signing up for food-handling training so they can get the go-ahead from state regulators to turn the lights back on.

Governor Ron DeSantis talked with local brewery owners Thursday in St. Petersburg about their business struggles due to the coronavirus pandemic, and their prospects for fully reopening.

"We started out down 70 to 75 percent in the middle of all of this. We are down less than half now," said Mike Harting, who runs Three Daughters Brewing.

"That confidence is definitely coming back in the consumer," he said.

After shutting down in the spring, America's empty gyms are beckoning a cautious public back for a workout. To reassure wary customers, owners have put in place — and now advertise — a variety of coronavirus control measures. At the same time, the fitness industry is also trying to rehabilitate itself by pushing back against what it sees as a misleading narrative that gyms have no place during a pandemic.

How Bars Are Fueling COVID-19 Outbreaks

Aug 18, 2020

From the early days of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak, states have wrestled with the best course of action for the nation's imperiled bars and nightclubs. Many of these businesses find their economic prospects tied to a virus that preys on their industry's lifeblood — social gatherings in tight quarters.

Bartender pours beer
Fabio Alvies

A spokeswoman for the Department of Business and Professional Regulation said Monday it’s still uncertain when bars and breweries can again serve alcohol for onsite consumption.

DBPR Secretary Halsey Beshears has been meeting privately with brewers and bar owners over the past few weeks to discuss concerns about widespread shutdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pandemic has altered what it means to run a small business, especially in the restaurant industry. South Florida restaurant owners are trying to maintain business while figuring out how to keep their workers and customers safe. One of those owners is Carlos Gazitua.

He grew up watching his grandmother and mother run Sergio’s, the popular Cuban restaurant chain. Now as CEO, he’s facing unique challenges.

“One of the things that they’ve never seen — my grandmother, my mother — was a pandemic,” Gazitua said.

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Alcoholic beverage licenses of four establishments were suspended by the state Tuesday because of violations of rules aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19.

Your Favorite Store Or Restaurant Is Open: How Do You Know It's OK To Go In?

Aug 11, 2020
Masked restaurant worker
Dapiki Moto / Unsplash

Just because many businesses are open again doesn’t mean the pandemic is over. The coronavirus is still on the loose — actually surging in many locations — which means people have to make serious choices about their health all day, every day.

tap pouring beer into glass
Evan Dvorkin

The state’s top business regulator will start holding talks Friday afternoon about reopening bars amid the coronavirus pandemic, with additional meetings being planned around Hurricane Isaias.

Department of Business and Professional Regulation Secretary Halsey Beshears will hold separate private talks in Jacksonville with groups of craft brewery owners and bar owners, the department announced.

The Manager of a restaurant or hotel checks the body temperature of the staff with a thermal imaging device.
Adobe

Gov. Ron DeSantis is looking to “tweak” one of his coronavirus orders so restaurant wait staff and non-health care workers can get back on the job quicker after testing positive for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, his top business regulator continues to plan meetings with craft brewers and bar owners about reopening.

Buddy Dyer wearing mask
WMFE

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer says it’s going to be difficult to reopen bars at the moment.

The secretary of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Halsey Beshears, said he planned to discuss reopening with bar and brewery owners this week.

glasses filled with beer on a bar
Erich Martin

Florida’s top business regulator plans to start meeting with bar operators and craft brewers, amid concerns about establishments closing permanently if a state ban on serving drinks for on-site consumption remains in place.

More than 100 Florida breweries could shut down permanently due to state restrictions on businesses in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus, according to a letter sent to the governor by the Florida Brewers Guild.

Numbers Have To ‘Flatten’ Before Drinks Can Flow, DBPR Chief Says

Jul 20, 2020
Department of Business and Professional Regulation Secretary Halsey Beshears
News Service of Florida

Florida’s bar scene will remain on hold until there is a massive reversal in the growth of positive coronavirus cases, according to the state’s top business regulator.

Tampa is cracking down on restaurants that do not follow laws designed to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Wednesday, it sent a warning letter to over 80 businesses that sell alcohol. The letter was sent to a list of businesses in a city contact list, and was not saying that these specific establishments were in violation of city ordinances.

News Service of Florida

Buying alcohol will remain a to-go-only option at Florida bars for the foreseeable future as coronavirus cases continue to spike.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Saturday the state isn’t changing a decision last month to reimpose a ban on bars selling alcohol for on-site consumption because of widespread non-compliance with coronavirus safety measures.

Restaurants will remain open in Broward, but must stop serving at 10 p.m. each day and limit the amount of people per table to six patrons beginning Friday, County Mayor Dale Holness announced at a Wednesday news conference.

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Miami-Dade County is again closing its restaurants to indoor dining and other indoor venues just weeks after they reopened because a spike in coronavirus cases.

County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said Monday the closures will take effect Wednesday.

Florida’s ban on serving alcohol to people in bars will be reevaluated daily, the state’s top business regulator said in a series of tweets over the weekend that also offered apologies for the crackdown.

Packed Bars Serve Up New Rounds Of COVID Contagion

Jun 28, 2020
Beer mugs toasting
Hannah Norman / KHN Illustration / Getty Images

As states eased their lockdowns, bars emerged as fertile breeding grounds for the coronavirus. They create a risky cocktail of tight quarters, young adults unbowed by the fear of illness and, in some instances, proprietors who don’t enforce crowd limits and social distancing rules.

Orlando Bar Owner Says His Business Is A ‘Scapegoat’

Jun 25, 2020
CDC.gov

The owner of the Knight’s Pub in Orlando contended Wednesday that the bar is being used as a “scapegoat” after the state suspended its alcoholic beverage license for violating coronavirus reopening guidelines.

John Brewer never expected this restaurant support community to take off.

14,000 members later, Delray Beach's largest “flash mob” had expanded beyond the city, opening chapters in four cities within Palm Beach County.

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