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Owners: Baja's Beachclub working to resolve issues to ensure 'full compliance' with state order

Other local bars work to adapt to new rules
Posted at 6:33 PM, Jul 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-02 06:47:49-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — A Tallahassee nightclub is in the hot-seat after a busy weekend.

The Florida Department of Business and Regulation suspended Baja's Beachclub's alcohol license and at Over Under the bar owners are making changes in accordance with state law.

Over Under is only open on its patio and is requiring masks.

As rules change for bars, the owners say they're trying to adapt. With the suspension of another bar's alcohol license, the attention to detail is even greater.

"We're scrambling around trying to talk to a lawyer, figuring out what we can and can't do because inevitably we don't want our license to be taken away," said Mitchell Howard of Over Under.

While bars like Over Under do their best to keep their alcohol licenses, Baja's Beachclub is now working on trying to get it back.

The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation revoked the business' license. They say the night the executive order halting alcohol sales was issued, Baja's opened to about 700 people.

DBPR says the business allowed people to bring their own alcohol inside, but the owner of Baja's says it all stemmed from a misinterpretation of the executive order.

In a statement to WTXL, Baja's owner Simon Dag said:

“While we were not serving or selling alcohol, and operating at 40 percent capacity, we understand the difficult situation regulators are in trying to enforce the rules in this dynamic situation."

DBPR says they received complaints about the crowds at Baja's over the weekend. Leon County Sheriff's Office also heard the complaints but wasn't able to respond.

"As far as taking any action, closing it down or suspending any license, that is handled by DBPR," said Shade McMillian, the public information officer for LCSO.

Baja's suspension is indefinite. DBPR says the suspension was issued due to the disregard of the well-known dangers of COVID-19 and the likelihood that the business will do it again.

The owners of Baja's say they're in "full compliance."

At Over Under, frustration grows daily about the ever-changing rules for business owners.

"It's a rollercoaster," said Howard. "We don't know what we can and can't do from day to day."

The executive order was amended Wednesday, to say bars that serve food are allowed to open as long as they operate as a restaurant.

Any bar that isn't serving food can only serve to-go drinks.

Over Under will reopen Thursday night following the amended order.