On June 26, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation suspended the on-premises consumption of alcohol at all bars in Florida.
As stated in the order signed by Gov. DeSantis, all vendors licensed to sell alcoholic beverages who derive more than 50 percent of their gross revenue from alcohol sales must cease alcohol sales for consumption on the premises.
Whose responsibility is it to enforce the order?
It is not the responsibility of local law enforcement and falls under the DBPR.
How it is enforced
Someone, typically another business owner or private citizen, would file a complaint with the DBPR. They would then investigate.
The DBPR told Ocala Post that if citizens are concerned about a particular business, they need to first file a complaint with the DBPR, not local law enforcement because they have no authority over restaurants or bars.
“To report concerns regarding compliance of a restaurant or bar with the operating requirements as currently applicable during Phase 2, please complete the form for referral to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation,” the DBPR said.
The DBPR said that if during the investigation the DBPR needs the assistance of local law enforcement they would be notified at that time.
Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn, said, “It is not the job of OPD to go around checking bars. That falls under the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. OPD has bigger crimes to deal with.”
Guinn said he wants the public to understand that he does not have the authority to shut down bars or restaurants and that it does, in fact, fall under the jurisdiction of the DBPR.
Guinn also said he supports upholding the Constitution.
In a previous press conference regarding the reopening of restaurants, Guinn said he wanted businesses like hair salons, gyms, and restaurants to reopen and for people to get back to work. He said he is not telling anyone to ignore the order, but that his message is that this (meaning the lockdown) has to end.
Guinn said, “I based my decision not to enforce the order on equal protection under the law clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”
Vendors may continue off-premises sales in sealed containers as long as they are in accordance with EO 20-71 sections 1 and 2.
Vendors that are considered restaurants under Chapter 509, Florida Statute, may continue to operate for on-premises consumption of food and beverages at this time as long as they derive 50 percent or less of gross revenue from alcoholic beverages.
Guinn did warn that while OPD will not enforce the order, other state agencies might. In fact, the DBPR has already suspended the license of several bars in Florida, and they put out a statement asking anyone who sees a bar serving alcohol to report them.
Guinn said he supports local business owners.