Listed below are some of the issues we are currently working on. If you have licensing issues, local ordinances or laws you would like challenged, please fill out the form on the Report and Issue Page.
Open Bars: The immediate concern for bar owners is the inability to do business in most states. While no bar owner wants to contribute to the increase in COVID-19 cases or operate their business in a reckless manner, it is possible to operate in the same manner as other businesses, like restaurants. National Bar Owners Association President Patricia Miracle is listed as a plaintiff in the first suit filed in the State of Florida against Governor Ron DeSantis and Department of Business and Professional Regulation Secretary Halsey Beshears.
Institute Bar Classifications: It is our belief that one of the factors in preventing bars to reopen in most states stems from a lack of classifications of bars. The COVID-19 is unprecedented and has brought to light a need for distinction between one type of bar and another. The concern about an establishment having the ability to operate safely stems from large forums that, even at a reduced capacity, would contribute greatly to the spread of the virus. If a 20,000 sq ft nightclub, with an occupancy of 800 opened with a 400 person maximum occupancy, that large number of people in doors would create a potentially unsafe environment. By contrast, a small 1,000 sq ft establishment with a capacity of 54, could easily control social distancing and safety procedures with 26 people (or less) in attendance. Our goal is to introduce legislation that establishes the following classes for bars:
Class D: 1-75 person occupancy
Class C: 76-150 person occupancy
Class B: 150-300 person occupancy
Class A: 301+ person occupancy
Fair Practices for Purchasing: In the State of Florida, vendor-to-vendor purchases or sales of alcoholic beverages are not allowed. Alcoholic beverages must be purchased from a licensed wholesale distributor. The issue with this restriction is that during an event like the COVID-19 Pandemic, bars were allowed to offer package service for off-site consumption. Package service was not feasible when consumers were able to purchase the products from retailers for less than bars were charged from wholesale distributors. For example, Wal-Mart is offering a 24 pack of Bud Light (12 oz Bottles) for $17.98. That's $.75 per bottle retail. A bars price from the distributor is $0.97 per bottle. In order to cover operating costs and not make any profit, a bar would need to charge $32.59 per case. While consumers will pay 100% (or more) markup on a product, while consuming it on premises, they will not pay 45% more than retail to "grab and go". Because bars are forced to purchase through a wholesale distributor and because there is only one wholesale distributor available, the distributor is able to charge whatever they want and the bar owners are forced to pay that price. Using the aforementioned example, if bars were able to buy from a retailer, they could add 23% to their profit margin and the retailer would also be making a profit. This clearly demonstrates the degree that bars are being over charged by distributors because of the laws in Florida.