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To-Go Alcohol Sales Are Now a Permanent Thing in Florida

Certain restaurants can now sell takeout cocktails after Gov. Ron DeSantis signs a new bill into law

Gloved hands hold up bags of red takeaway cocktails. Photo by Mairo Cinquetti/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Florida is the latest state to make to-go alcohol purchases permanently legal. On Thursday, May 13, Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill 148 into law which permanently allows restaurants to sell alcoholic beverages for to-go and delivery — with some caveats. The bill will take effect July 1.

While the bill may be good news for some, it seems primarily geared towards large scale and large volume restaurants. In order to qualify to sell alcohol to-go, restaurants need to at least have 2,500-square feet of dining area and have a minimum capacity of at least 150 people, plus get 51 percent of its revenue from food and non-alcoholic beverages. Drinks sold to-go cannot be larger than 32 ounces, cannot be factory sealed, and delivery orders of alcohol must come with food.

“It’s probably the most difficult year that the restaurant industry has had to face, certainly in recent times,” DeSantis said at the press conference. “But now this industry is really thriving in Florida. We have people that will move to Florida and start new restaurants because they know they have an environment that they can do very well.”

Last spring, DeSantis put into place a temporary executive order allowing restaurants and bars to sell cocktails to-go to help offer some economic relief to restaurants suffering due to COVID-19 temporary closures.

Florida is now the 11th state to make to-go alcoholic beverages permanent in the country.