State Opens Bars on September 14th and County Steps Up Enforcement

As the latest from Tallahassee allows bars to open at the same time positive cases are spiking, the County’s new Order allows the County and other agencies to aggressively enforce capacity and “service only to those seated” provisions in the Order. Below are the pertinent paragraphs. 

1. The owners, operators, or managers of restaurants and other establishments, or a bar and other vendor licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises shall follow Governor’s Order 20-139, Section 4(A), which states, in pertinent part:

Restaurants and other establishments, and bars and other vendors licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises, may operate at fifty (50) percent of their indoor capacity, excluding employees, as under Executive Order 20-123, Section 1. Bar areas may be open with seated service. In addition, outdoor seating is permissible with appropriate social distancing.

Only table service permitted.

2. Nightclubs in Alachua County remain closed.

3. Restaurants and other establishments, bars, and other vendors licensed to sell alcoholic beverages may continue to sell alcoholic beverages in containers for consumption off-premises.

4. Failure of an owner, operator, or manager of an establishment or a vendor, as regulated by Section 1, to limit capacity, to enforce seating requirement, or to comply with any other provision of Section 1 shall result in the following progressive sanctions.

1) First, a written warning followed by at least 1 hour to comply.

2) The failure to comply with a written warning may result in an order to cease operation within 15 minutes of issuance of the order, or as soon thereafter as possible, and remain ceased for the immediate 12 hours after closure.

3) All violations of Section 1, following a warning and an order to cease operations for 12 hours, may result in an order to cease operation within 15 minutes of issuance of the order, or as soon thereafter as possible, and remain ceased for the immediate 7 calendar days after closure (calculated as 168 hours following ceasing of operations).

Warnings and orders shall be substantially consistent with Attachment A.

5. Law enforcement and code enforcement may enforce this Emergency Order. In addition, County and municipal managers may appoint a wide range of County and municipal officials and employees to enforce this Emergency Order.

6. Severability.

Any provision(s) within this Emergency Order that conflict(s) with any State or Federal law or constitutional provision, including the State’s preemption of the regulation of firearms and ammunition codified in section 790.33, Fla. Stat., or conflict(s) with or are superseded by a current or subsequently-issued Executive Order of the Governor or the President of the United States, shall be deemed inapplicable and deemed to be severed from this Emergency Order, with the remainder of this Emergency Order remaining intact and in full force and effect. To the extent application of some or all the provisions of this Emergency Order is prohibited on the sovereign land of a federally or state recognized sovereign Indian tribe, such application is expressly excluded from this Emergency Order.

7. Effective Date; Duration.

This Emergency Order shall be effective at 12:01am, Monday, September 14, 2020, and will stay in effect during the pendency of the state of emergency or until adoption of subsequent order or repeal.

8. This Emergency Order is in addition to the Executive Orders issued by Governor DeSantis.

9. This Emergency Order applies to incorporated and unincorporated areas within Alachua County, but has no application outside of Alachua County. Municipalities have the authority to enforce this Emergency Order within their jurisdiction. Municipalities are authorized to impose regulations which are more stringent than those set forth herein.

10. The County or municipalities within its boundaries will direct any establishment to cease and desist operations that are in violation of this Emergency Order and may treat violations as a violation of County or Municipal ordinance as appropriate. The County has jurisdiction countywide to enforce the terms of this Emergency Order.

11. Except as provided herein, any violation of these emergency measure(s) shall be a violation of Sec. 252.50, Fla. Stat., and may be punishable as provided therein and shall be enforced by law enforcement as provided by law. Notwithstanding the provisions herein, the County may alternatively enforce these emergency measure(s) through law enforcement or code enforcement by issuing a citation imposing a fine not to exceed $500 per violation, pursuant to Chapt. 162, Fla. Stat. All other remedies available at law or equity, including injunction, remain available to the County and municipalities.

12. This Order supersedes and replaces any conflicting provisions of prior orders.


For more information, contact Alachua County Communications Director Mark Sexton at 352-264-6979 or msexton@alachuacounty.us

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