According to the Tampa Bay Times, a loophole in Florida’s restrictions on bars and breweries involves getting a food permit, which is exactly what many are using to stay open.
St. Petersburg’s Cage Brewing recently reopened with a food license. So did nearby Bar@548. Many others applied or are in the process of applying. Restaurants in the state were allowed to reopen on May 4 with capacity limits. Bars reopened on June 5, but were told to stop serving alcohol on June 26.
“You can go to Disney World, but you can’t come to my place and have a pint of beer?” questioned Joshua Garman, owner of Tampa’s Hidden Springs Ale Works. He, like many others, wonder what serving food has to do with curbing exposure to COVID-19. “It’s just astounding. There was a lot of solidarity to it before, but it’s hard to look at our restaurant friends and not be jealous.”
However, it’s been made easier for bars to serve alcohol since the June 26 order, which said that businesses that got more than 50% of their revenue from alcohol sales were not allowed to sell on site. Since July 1, as long as bars were also licensed to operate as restaurants, they could stay open, regardless of the 50% mandate.