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Florida's Top Regulator Looking At How To Open Bars Safely

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Erich Martin
/
WFSU News

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Florida’s top business regulator said he planned to meet with bar owners to discuss how they can reopen their businesses again safely.

Halsey Beshears, secretary of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, said Saturday that he is planning to start setting up meetings with owners of bars and breweries across the state later this week to discuss how they can reopen without spreading the virus.

Beshears remarks come as the Department of Health reported 12,199 new cases. Florida now surpasses New York State in cases. DPBR's effort follows an open letter on the state of the craft beer industry written by the Florida Brewer's Guild. In it's letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis and Beshears, the guild asks for bars to be able to reopen for on-site consumption, saying businesses have been closed for more days than they've been open in 2020.

“The entire Florida Craft Brewing Industry is now in jeopardy,” the guild writes. “For the first time in recent history, the number of active breweries has actually decreased in number, and it is our fear that this trend will rapidly accelerate if we do not find a way to balance the health of our community with the economics of our industry.”

The Brewer's Guild says more than 100 breweries in the state may have to close permanently and take with them nearly a third of the 10,000 jobs the industry supports.

Last month, Florida banned alcohol consumption at its bars in response to a spike in the number of coronavirus cases.