Bar owners divided on new alcohol sale rules in Brevard County

Some raise concerns over possible increase in drunk drivers

Bar owners are reacting to a decision that allows alcohol sales to happen 24 hours a day in parts of Brevard County.

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Bar owners are reacting to a decision that allows alcohol sales to happen 24 hours a day in parts of Brevard County.

In a 4-1 vote Tuesday, the county commission approved a closely watched ordinance eliminating restrictions on the hours that alcoholic beverages can be sold at licensed establishments in unincorporated areas.

[TRENDING: Family barred from flight over child’s mask | Photos: Baby gators’ snouts taped shut | Bartender’s face slashed]

Harry Vigliano is the owner of H&D Roadhouse in Merritt Island and said he supports the measure.

“I would say I’m cautiously optimistic,” Vigliano said. “I think it’s a viable option, if as long as you can staff it.”

Commissioners who approved the measure said lifting restrictions could provide an economic boost for bars and liquor stores.

“It does give you more hours of operation. More hours of operation, obviously, divides your overhead by more hours,” Vigliano said.

Opponents of the move, however, have cited concerns about a possible increase in drunk driving.

Charles Price, who owns Thirsty Bones Bar, said it’s a bad idea.

“Anything that’s ever happened after two o’clock has never been a good situation,” Price said. “You’re putting drunk drivers on the road or possibly impaired drivers on the road at the same time as school busses.”

Price said the worries about safety were enough for him to keep the hours of his bar the same.

County leaders have said at this point, there’s no evidence to support concerns that the measure will lead to an increase in impaired driving.

Vigliano, meanwhile, said he’s willing to investigate expanding the hours of his business.

“I’m thinking of trying it. Giving it a trial run and see how it works,” he said.

Use the form below to sign up for the 4pm Trending newsletter, sent every weekday.

About the Author:

Mark Lehman became a News 6 reporter in July 2014, but he's been a Central Florida journalist and part of the News 6 team for much longer. While most people are fast asleep in their bed, Mark starts his day overnight by searching for news on the streets of Central Florida.