On Thursday, Governor Ron DeSantis visited Green Bench Brewing located in the Edge District of St. Petersburg. DeSantis was joined by Department of Business and Professional Regulation Secretary Halsey Beshears for a roundtable with local brewers and bar owners to discuss the reopening of those establishments in the near future.
Pete Boland, owner of The Galley on 4th Street and Mary Margarets on 3rd, centered his comments on the need for certainty and consistency from state and local officials. Opened in 2017, The Galley had to close temporarily in June after several staff tested positive for COVID-19. They have since reopened and have had no issues while following the local safety requirements.
Mike Harting of 3 Daughters who also serves as President of the Florida Brewers Guild has been working with Secretary Beshears since March to keep breweries open. He explained that the tap room is what keeps his people employed and the off premise sales pay for the equipment.
Representing a smaller brewery, Matt Dahm from Mastry’s Brewing on St. Pete Beach focused on how the beach closures in March are still affecting his business. Matt is also the Incoming Chair of the Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce.
Lastly, Nathan Stonecipher and Khris Johnson from Green Bench Brewing spoke about their co-workers as being family and that the layoffs for while they were closed for 124 days were devastating. Green Bench was only able to re-open a few weeks ago after obtaining a food license, an option many owners are considering.
DeSantis closed out the meeting saying he is hoping to get to a “YES” for reopening bars and breweries and is relying on Secretary Beshears and his team to present guidelines on how to do it safely. He also said that if a CARES Act Part 4 is passed by the Federal Government, he will try to direct some of the funds to business who were directly impacted by government forced closures, like bars and breweries.
Our members did a great job explaining the difficulties they have faced in light of COVID-19 and offering actionable solutions to the Governor and Secretary Beshears. Thank you to Governor DeSantis for listening to our brewery and bar community and working hard to reopen these businesses.
To view the entire discussion, CLICK HERE