Drinks to go. It sounds so easy and tidy — Right here’s your meals and listed here are your cocktails, or wine, or craft beer.
And due to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ emergency order in the course of the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Florida has one thing of a observe file to look again on. There haven’t been many stories of massive issues. Fairly the opposite: Native eating places advised The Information-Journal’s Clayton Park they’ve had a great experience with the expanded opportunity for lucrative alcohol sales. Tim Curtis, co-owner of the regional Houligan’s chain, advised Park that the income from bundling drinks with meals helped him keep away from layoffs in the course of the months the place his eating rooms and barstools had been empty.
“That first couple of days, I am going to use our Port Orange retailer for instance, we had been wrapped across the constructing and on to Dunlawton (Boulevard with vehicles),” Curtis mentioned. “We did not miss a beat. Friday nights, from 4 o’clock to 9 o’clock, with no single particular person in our restaurant, we had been nonetheless doing the identical degree of gross sales.”
Curtis was readily available Thursday as DeSantis signed off on laws that may flip the emergency rule into everlasting state legislation. So, too, had been many of the Volusia/Flagler counties’ legislative delegation. It appears like a uncommon win in a season of turmoil and political rock-throwing.
We’ll drink to that. Floridians can use a win, and we recognize DeSantis’ determination to return to Ormond Seaside, on the coronary heart of his previous congressional district, to signal the laws.
That doesn’t imply there aren’t considerations. The brand new legislation units some commonsense pointers for beverage gross sales, together with guidelines meant to maintain the brand new coverage from fueling a increase in drunken driving. Drinks can solely be out there to those that are ordering meals or non-alcoholic drinks. The whole invoice should be not more than 60 % alcohol.
Drinks should be served in sealed containers inside baggage, that are additionally meant to be sealed. Throughout transport, they should be positioned in a trunk, some form of container or on the very least, within the again seat behind the motive force. Not one of the seals ought to be damaged whereas the car is in movement.
The identical guidelines apply to partially consumed bottles of wine, which might now be taken house as long as restaurant workers re-seals them earlier than they’re transported, Park stories.
That is going to be powerful to police. The primary and most evident step, in fact, is to make sure restaurant patrons know the principles and comply with observe them earlier than they’re served. State officers ought to observe up on this. The Florida Division of Enterprise and Skilled Regulation ought to beef up the Division of Alcoholic Drinks and Tobacco’s enforcement arm to watch compliance, and decide if the principles are typically being adopted. Regulation enforcement must also be requested to maintain observe of DUI arrests and collisions the place cocktails to go are concerned.
One other potential drawback will probably be harder to trace: Will the brand new legislation enhance alcohol dependancy, consumption of alcohol by minors or different problematic behaviors? Florida’s addiction-recovery group might assist reply this query. DeSantis ought to ask them to maintain an eye fixed out for growing issues, and plan a check-up six to 12 months from now.
If individuals are ignoring the protection parts of the legislation, or if this transfer appears to be related to a rise in drawback ingesting, Florida lawmakers should be ready to make changes — or stroll this one again. And so they can’t simply wait passively for points to manifest so blatantly they’ll’t be ignored. They have to hunt down the solutions.
For now, nevertheless, depend this transfer as a win for Floridians and guests who can take pleasure in their favourite drinks and meals of their favourite setting: The protection of their very own houses.