State lifts bar restriction, but no impacts to AMI

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The Doctor’s Office, 5312 Holmes Blvd., Holmes Beach, was the only bar on Anna Maria Island to remain takeout-only as of Sept. 11. Five other bars had all opened for alcohol consumption with food service. Islander Photo: Ryan Paice

Florida’s standalone bars no longer were prohibited Sept. 14 from selling alcoholic beverages for on-premise consumption.

But the state’s lifting of the prohibition didn’t change anything on Anna Maria Island.

The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation issued an emergency order Sept. 10 allowing bars to resume selling alcohol for on-site consumption by Sept. 14 if they comply with phase 2 of the state recovery plan.

The DBPR had issued a restriction for on-premises consumption at bars June 26 to slow the spread of the coronavirus but amended it July 1 to allow bars licensed to sell food to sell alcoholic beverages.

So all but one of six island bars acquired food service licenses and retained beverage service.

The bar that didn’t reopen, The Doctor’s Office, 5312 Holmes Blvd., Holmes Beach, already had a food service license and was permitted to resume selling alcohol for on-premises consumption.

However, owner Sean Murphy has said the bar will offer takeout only through another Murphy-owned property, Eat Here, a restaurant at 5315 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, until he sees significant improvement halting the spread of coronavirus.

Murphy’s third Holmes Beach property, Beach Bistro, at 66th Street on the beach, is undergoing renovations that include a new AC and air filtration system and he has suggested it may open in mid-October.

Under the new state directive, bars must operate at 50% seating capacity, provide bar service only to seated patrons and apply appropriate social distancing for outdoor seating and service.


On the web

People can read the DBPR’s emergency order on its website at