Alcohol to-go could be made permanent; and SCOTUS may have created a restaurant loophole

Written By Scott Joseph On December 7, 2020

Prato to go

In March, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order that allows restaurants and other food purveyors with a liquor license to offer alcoholic beverages for takeout and delivery. Now two state legislators, Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg and Sen. Jennifer Bradley, R-Fleming Island, have made motions to allow off-site consumption permanently.

The booze would have to be in a sealed container and part of a food order. DeSantis has indicated that he approves of the measure to make the change permanent.

A similar rule has been in place for years. The so-called Merlot to Go rule allows patrons who order a bottle of wine with their dinners to take home any wine leftover, providing the wine is recorked (or the cap screwed back on) and placed in a sealed plastic bag with the dinner receipt showing the wine was part of a full dinner purchase stapled to the bag.

It’s not clear how cocktails and beers might be packaged under the newly proposed provisions.

In any event, it probably would not be made permanent law until June.

No one has pointed this out yet, but a recent ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States may have offered restaurants a path to stay open and serve as many people as they wish, inside or out.

Southeast 9 23 Bosch

All the restaurant owner would have to do is declare his or her establishment a house of worship. The Supremes have ruled that religious establishments do not have to comply with local and state orders that limit the number of people who can gather in an inside space.

So just turn your restaurant into a church. Not such a stretch – I’ve passed many a kitchen where I heard the lord’s name being uttered. As far as I know, there are no rules as to what constitutes communion. Sauteed scallops on a wafer served with a bloody mary should work. At the end of the meal – I mean service – just pass the collection plate.

Added bonus: You won’t have to pay taxes.

Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?

That’s my point.

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