New ordinance in Jacksonville Beach tightens restrictions on restaurant alcohol sales

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Monday, Jacksonville Beach City Council voted unanimously to approve an ordinance that tightens restrictions on restaurant alcohol sales.

According to the ordinance, the City "desires to regulate the hours of sale, consumption and service of alcoholic beverages provided for a process and procedures for issuance of extended hours of operation permits, and encourage responsible alcohol beverage establishments by proving for enhanced penalties, suspension, and revocation of the extended hours of operations permit in the event of violation of the regulations and ordinances of the City."

The City said it's not removing current or limiting future establishments from applying for the ‘late night' permit.

Currently, restaurants have to apply for a special extended hours of operation permit serving alcohol from 12 a.m. to 2 a.m.

The license allows them to serve alcohol as long as 51% of their income comes from food sales.
However, city leaders said some restaurants are behaving like bars and staying open until 2 a.m.

The ordinance said the city has experienced an increase in law enforcement costs as a result of the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages particularly after midnight.

Jax Beach Mayor Charlie Latham said this has been talked about for years.

"It's a big deal that we took this step to make it a little bit safer downtown," Latham said. "It gives us the leverage to take care of the bad actors that aren't doing things the way they're supposed to be done."

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The city said the ordinance is effective immediately, but they're given business a six-month buffer to put together their safety plan.

Latham said violations are based on a three-strike principal. On the third strike, businesses lose the ability to be open after midnight for a year.

According to the ordinance, business owners could also be fined up to $500 per violation.

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