Downtown DeLand restaurant, bar owners ask commissioners to consider open container law

City commissioners to hear proposal during Monday's meeting

DELAND, Fla. – Melisa Reed knows first hand how COVID-19 has affected bars and restaurants.

Reed owns The Table Restaurant along with a couple of other businesses around DeLand and has come up with a solution on how to offset some of the financial strife caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Reed and three other restaurant and bar owners are asking city commissioners Monday night to consider allowing open containers in Downtown DeLand.

“The idea was how can we all come together to give the community something where they feel safe, to come out, eat, drink and be entertained,” said Reed. The bar owner said it could also be a great way to bring in some much-needed revenue for bars that have been struggling with business.

Reed said the owner of The Elusive Grape brainstormed the idea and Abbey Bar is also onboard.

“Bars are closed right now unless they can convert to a restaurant. There’s a lot of bars in town that are not able to do so. So, this would definitely help both hopefully the bars and the restaurant side of things,” Bar said.

The proposed streets for folks to sip and stroll would form a large square, from Voorhis Avenue to Ohio Avenue, then Alabama Avenue to Florida Avenue.

Reed said they’re also proposing for a portion of Indiana Avenue to shut down on Fridays and Saturdays, replacing cars with tables and chairs for people to dine outside.

“This would allow people to come and visit our restaurants but then also be outside and socially distant,” said DeLand City Spokesman, Chris Graham.

Graham said if the proposal comes to fruition, it would only last until the pandemic is over.

“I think the commission is willing to consider options that not only help our businesses but they also have to consider the well being of our citizens. Anything that we can do to help if it’s feasible, we’ll consider,” he said.

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