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Marbet Lewis founding partner of Spiritus Law Attorneys at Law. Marbet Lewis founding partner of Spiritus Law Attorneys at Law.

Despite the initial panic and long months of closure, our hospitality industry endured collectively through one of the worst financial and public health crises to materialize in our lifetimes. More than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, the hospitality industry continues to struggle to regain its stability and strength. For now, though, it looks like Florida’s restaurant industry can breathe a sigh of relief in knowing that alcohol to-go and delivery privileges can continue to include pre-mixed cocktails and manufacturer sealed wine and beer products. The passage of Senate Bill 148, solidifying alcohol to-go delivery privileges, modernizes Florida’s alcohol laws and offers stability for the struggling restaurant industry.

Almost immediately after on-premise closure orders swept across the State in early 2020, the restaurant industry started buzzing with support for greater flexibility in to-go ordering including the sale of bottled alcohol products and pre-mixed cocktails. In support, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an emergency order allowing specified establishments to sell cocktails and other alcohol products to go with food orders. The general language of the initial emergency orders created some confusion with little guidance on how pre-made cocktails could be packaged and sold, but the restaurant industry quickly adapted and adjusted their menus and ordering processes. The added flexibility in to-go and delivery orders enabled restaurants to maximize use of their existing inventory, stabilize off-premise sales, and offer consumers the chance to replicate the full dining experience at home.

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