State business regulators have suspended the alcoholic beverage license of Show-N-Tail, a gentlemen’s club in Panama City Beach.
According to an emergency order signed by Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) Secretary Halsey Beshears on Friday, the club flouted the state’s COVID-19 business requirements despite after inspectors had previously warned the business.
Because the club is not a restaurant and cannot serve food, it was not allowed to sell food, a requirement for bars to sell alcohol during current emergency orders. And as a club and gentlemen’s club, DBPR says the business wasn’t allowed to remain open regardless.
On July 2, patrons paid an entry fee and received “free” alcoholic beverages to consume in the club. On Thursday, inspectors again found it open for business.
“Due to the highly infectious nature of COVID-19, the difficulty or inability to identify or locate specific persons infected or in contact with positive cases of COVID-19, and the Suspended Licensee’s disregard of the lawful restrictions already imposed on its operation, the Department finds that nothing short of outright suspension of the license is sufficient to protect the public health, safety, and welfare,” according to the revocation order.
In June, the department shut down a University of Central Florida student bar that became the poster child of the state’s willingness to enforce its COVID-19 guidelines. That Orlando bar, The Knights Pub, violated the state’s capacity requirements according to the department — despite the owner’s denial.
And while inspectors noted guests at Show-N-Tail violated social distancing requirements, the Knights Pub’s license was suspended ahead of DBPR reversing the state’s reopening plan that allowed bars to reopen. Bars must generate more than half of their revenue from food sales to also sell alcohol.
Based on the department’s crackdown, hiding alcohol sales behind an entry fee is not enough to circumvent the order.