‘We have to prepare ourselves:’ Downtown Orlando bars could see busy Halloween weekend

Downtown ambassadors pass out free PPE to business owners

ORLANDO, Fla. – Halloween is typically one of the busiest nights of the year in downtown Orlando. In light of the ongoing pandemic, city leaders are helping bars and businesses prepare for what could be a night filled with large crowds by providing them with free personal protective equipment.

Downtown ambassadors with the City of Orlando walked the streets Friday afternoon going business to business handing out free face masks and PPE to be passed out to people coming downtown for Halloween.

Gary Schwartz, the owner of Dank Orlando City Smoke Shop, said he’s still expecting downtown will be busy despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

“People are going to come out and play regardless and we’re going to mask up and take precautions and use our brains and be safe,” Schwartz said.

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Halloween is usually one of the busiest nights of the year for John SanFelippo. He co-owns The Beacham and several other downtown venues.

News 6 stopped by The Beacham last month when the state lifted restrictions and allowed bars to reopen.

SanFelippo said business is slowly growing, but he’s not banking on Halloween weekend. Instead, he is hoping it won’t be too busy.

“Honestly, we have to prepare ourselves for the most amount of people and hope for the least amount of people,” he said.

SanFelippo said they are downplaying Halloween this year. He said they are not holding costume contests or giveaways, they aren’t paying for additional advertising, and they put up minimal decorations.

He said he has to balance business and public safety.

“We need to be safe right now. We need to dial it back and do our best that we can and then once we get through this we can go ahead and move forward,” SanFelippo said.

He said the perimeter the city is setting up will give more space for people to spread out, adding it’s up to everyone to do their part.

“If you are going to come out make sure you have your mask, make sure you’re being respectful to other people and most of all if you don’t feel good, if you know somebody who doesn’t feel good, if you’ve got a cough or the sniffles whatever it is, please stay home,” SanFelippo said. “Don’t be the one who causes the problem for the rest of us in downtown Orlando.”

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