DBPR secretary meets with local brewery, bar owners to come up with safe reopening plan

Coronavirus

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – As the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect bars and breweries, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) Secretary Halsey Beshears is meeting with owners for a safe reopening.

Secretary Beshears is making his way around the state speaking with owners.

Matthew Feagin, co-owner of the Symposium Fine Wine and Craft Brew in Indian Shores believes Monday’s meeting went well.

“A lot of good ideas were thrown out,” said Feagin. “I know Secretery Beshears has a few more days running around the state collecting information so they can obviously make an informed decision.”

Beshears visited establishments in Jacksonville and Orlando before making his way to Pinellas County on Monday.

He began his day speaking with owners and brewers at Green Bench Brewing Company in St. Petersburg before making his way to Indian Shores.

Feagin was not forced to shut down completely after bars were ordered to close. He can still sell beverages, but there is no consumption on site. Tasting some of the many different flavors was something that his customers really enjoyed.

“So we have hundreds of craft beers,” said Feagin. “You can come in and pick a single beer, a craft beer out of the cooler and drink it here, but that part has ended so just package sales only.”

Jerry Wells was in a different situation. When the state ordered bars to shut down the second time, his Citrus County watering hole was one of them.

He discovered that he needed to purchase a different license from the DBPR in order to operate. He calls that ridiculous.

“If they’re going to consistently say it’s us and they don’t know when they’re going to open us, then close us for the right reasons,” said Wells. “Not because of a damn piece of paper. That damn piece of paper means nothing.”

The DBPR issued the following statement regarding the secretary’s visits:

DBPR Secretary Beshears’ primary focus is working toward safe reopening options for licensed businesses like bars and breweries that continue to face challenges in this pandemic. These meetings have been arranged to open a dialogue directly with owners of these impacted businesses regarding reasonable and responsible steps that can be reliably sustained upon reopening. Over the course of eight meetings since Friday, and with additional meetings on deck for tomorrow, Secretary Beshears has made listening to the ideas and recommendations of these business owners his top priority as this recovery continues.

Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation

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