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Mandatory Operation Changes for Restaurants and Gyms Due to COVID-19

March 20, 2020

By: Ferran Arimon & Tara Tedrow

Effective immediately, Governor Ron DeSantis has issued Executive Order No. 20-71, which impacts operations across the state of Florida until the expiration of the Governor’s March 9th executive order declaring a state of emergency across the state. That order (Executive Order 20-52) is to last 60 days (May 8, 2020) unless extended. The latest Executive Order will impact businesses statewide as follows:

  1. Alcohol Sales. All vendors licensed to sell alcohol for consumption on premises are to suspend the sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption on premises. These prohibitions are lifted provided the alcohol is sold in a sealed container for off premises consumption and is accompanied by the sale of food (delivery or take-out only) in the same order. Further, licensed vendors of alcoholic beverages can also request the return of undamaged alcoholic beverages purchased for events cancelled in response to COVID-19 pursuant to the conditions outlined in the order. Vendors should be sure to follow the specific steps set forth for in the order for such requests. The provisions of this order do not prohibit retail stores and vendors that currently sell sealed containers for off premises consumption from continuing operations.
  2. Restaurants and Bars. All food establishments are to suspend on-premises food consumption for customers however, delivery or take-out services are permitted. Such establishments may continue to operate their kitchens and certain employees will still be allowed access for delivery or take-out purposes. For the purposes of this Executive Order, “restaurant” shall include any Food Service Establishment licensed under Chapter 500, Florida Statutes, and Public Food Service Establishments licensed under Chapter 509 Florida Statutes.
  3. Gym and Fitness Centers. All gyms and fitness centers within the State of Florida have been order to close. This order will not apply to gyms and fitness centers that are:
    1. amenities of hotels which have a capacity of 10 persons or less,
    2. an amenity of a residential building,
    3. interior to any fire or police states, or
    4. located inside any single occupant office building.

These announcements will certainly have impacts on businesses across the state. Please be aware that the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program as further discussed here, is active for small business owners affected by COVID-19. If eligible, businesses are encouraged to start the process sooner rather than later.

If you have any questions, please contact a member of the Hospitality & Leisure Group, or your usual Lowndes attorney.

For up-to-date news please follow our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response Team page.

This article is informational only. You should consult an attorney before acting or failing to act. The law may change rapidly and no warranty is given. LOWNDES DISCLAIMS ALL IMPLIED WARRANTIES AND WITHOUT LIMITATION, ANY WARRANTY OF FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. ALL ARTICLES ARE PROVIDED AS IS AND WITH ALL FAULTS. Consult a Lowndes attorney if you wish to establish an attorney/client relationship.
Tara Tedrow is a shareholder in the firm’s Land Use, Zoning & Environmental Group and serves as chair of the Cannabis & Controlled Substances Group. She brings years of experience handling an array of complex legal matters for multi-billion dollar valued companies and entrepreneurs alike.
With a significant portion of her practice devoted to land use and development, Tara regularly advises clients on entitling projects for commercial, residential, industrial, office and mixed uses. She works with local governments and regulatory agencies to address the needs of her clients related to environmental permitting and compliance, zoning, comprehensive plans, concurrency, site plan approval, variance and waiver requests, due diligence and property rights.

Often sought out for high-profile and high-stakes land development projects, Tara has delivered positive outcomes for clients ranging from large multi-national and U.S.-based companies to high-net worth individuals seeking land use entitlements. With over 15 years of competitive debate experience, she is uniquely suited to handle complex and controversial projects and public hearings that present a myriad of political and legal challenges.

Tara has provided developers and clients with legal counsel and representation in Section 70.51 mediations. Her experience in land use and environmental dispute resolutions offers a unique benefit to clients navigating the alternative dispute resolution process following denial of a development order, zoning approval and other land use matters around the state.

Well-known for providing legal and lobbying representation for a wide range of cannabis clients, Tara and her team work with physicians, lenders, real estate developers, landlords, ancillary service providers, banks, licensed adult use and medical marijuana companies, cultivators, processors, retailers and license applicants, helping them to navigate the ever-changing regulatory landscape of marijuana and hemp regulations. She also assists clients in the national hemp industry in obtaining licensing and approvals for processing, retailing, cultivation and other forms of secondary byproduct monetization. Her deep knowledge of regulatory laws and understanding of operations and logistics for cannabis companies, along with her ability to make connections and build partnerships, bring strategic value to her clients. 

Tara is the only person in the state of Florida to be appointed by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to both the inaugural Industrial Hemp Advisory Council created under Senate Bill 1020 and to the state’s Hemp Advisory Committee, which she currently chairs. A prolific presenter and speaker at industry seminars and conferences, she has served as the keynote speaker on industry regulations at over 60 events in the past two years. In the fall of 2018, Tara became the first professor in the state of Florida to teach a law school course on marijuana law and policy at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where she continues to teach today.

Prior to joining the firm, Tara worked as a legal extern for the University of Florida General Counsel and Office of the Vice President as well as for the Orlando Juvenile Public Defenders Office. For over a decade, she has also worked professionally as a private speech and debate coach and taught at multiple national debate institutes, including the National Debate Forum at Emerson University, the National Symposium for Debate at Grinnell College and Victory Briefs Institute at UCLA.

Tara is a contributing writer at the Orlando Sentinel and has spoken about various real estate topics on Fox News.

To view Tara's information specific to Land Use or Cannabis, click the corresponding links below. 

Land Use
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