Florida Legislature passes bill to make ‘Cocktails To-Go’ permanent

Florida Legislature passes bill to make ‘Cocktails To-Go’ permanent
Bottles of alcohol in bars getting ready to open back up. (Source: Russell Clark)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WWSB) - On Wednesday evening, the Florida Legislature passed a bill to make “Cocktails To-Go” permanent.

This would make to-go cocktails allowed from food service establishments, which would increase consumer convenience. It would also support businesses that were devastated by the pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated Florida’s hospitality businesses, and it will take years for them to fully recover,” said Jay Hibbard, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States senior vice president of State Government Relations. “Cocktails to-go has already proven to be a vital part of their survival during COVID-19 and will only provide increased stability in the months and years to come.”

The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation issued an emergency order allowing restaurants to sell alcohol with to-go orders early last year. Gov. Ron DeSantis expressed his support for making the change permanent at a news conference last September.

The bill must now go back to the Senate for concurrence before heading to the governor’s desk.

Currently, more than 30 states plus the District of Columbia are allowing restaurants and bars to sell cocktails to-go. Ohio, Kentucky, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia have made this measure permanent. Other states are also considering allowing, extending, or making the cocktails to-go permanent.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story stated that the bill heads to the governor’s desk next, which is incorrect. That has been updated.

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