On May 13, 2021, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law Senate Bill 148, which allows restaurants or other alcohol beverage vendors to sell alcoholic drinks to-go. No, this does not mean that Florida is an open container state; possession of an open alcoholic container in Florida is still illegal under Florida Statutes, section 316.1936 and 856.011. However, customers who want to order take-out from their favorite restaurant can now also bring home their favorite cocktail, providing the restaurant meets certain requirements.
The alcoholic drinks to-go initially started through one of DeSantis’s emergency orders as a way for struggling restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic to increase their sales. “Alcoholic drinks to-go became an important source of revenue for restaurants that were trying to survive during the pandemic,” DeSantis noted. Throughout the pandemic, restaurants were some of Florida’s businesses that were most affected. Florida Representative Josie Tomkow stated, however, that the new law
allows for restaurants to continue to offer alcohol-to-go as an option. This pro-consumer, business-friendly bill will help support our restaurant industry and its tens of thousands of employees.”