Proposal would relax open-container rules in unincorporated Brevard County

Under a new proposal in Brevard County, open-container rules would be changed so you could take a beer from a bar to any public area and drink and sip legally.

It's something businesses say would be a game-changer and they welcome the news.

"It would be a fantastic idea, for the sake that we have a park behind us in the avenue, and it would just make people feel more comfortable," said Maribeth Liska, one of the owners of World of Beer in Viera. "They can come in and we can give them a beer, and then they can go out and socially distance in the park amongst a beautiful setting."

The proposed changes would not affect open-container restrictions in all of Brevard's cities and towns. It would only apply to certain unincorporated areas -- like parts of Melbourne and Palm Bay, including Viera and Merritt Island.

"The State of Florida, rightfully so, has prohibitions in place for public intoxication. I certainly don’t want to touch -- nor can I as a county commissioner -- touch any of those types of statues," said commissioner John Tobia, a Brevard County commissioner.

However, the county sheriff is against the new proposal.

"We need to protect all our parking lots and areas, to not leave it vulnerable to people drinking," Sheriff Wayne Ivey wrote in a statement sent to FOX 35 News.

For local bars, it’s just another hope of attracting more business.

"I think it would be beneficial to us because it would bring more customers in because we are in a small facility now and it is hard to social-distance," Liska said.

The final vote on Tobia's proposal will be scheduled towards the end of March.

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