Downtown Orlando businesses deal with new ordinance amid Cinco De Mayo weekend surge

Ordinance put cost of new security measures on local businesses

ORLANDO, Fla. – While people are enjoying themselves for the holiday weekend, downtown businesses are seeing how they will adjust for the first weekend since a new city ordinance has taken effect.

Thousands of people are expected to come downtown over the course of the weekend for Cinco De Mayo.

News 6 spoke with business owners on Friday who said that while people are enjoying themselves, owners will be watching how these new rules will reflect on their bottom lines.

Monica McCown, the Vice-President of Orlando’s Hospitality Alliance, said, “We’ll see how enforcement is, but really, the city is already sending out code enforcement.”

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McCown said restaurants and bars are expected to see hundreds of thousands in revenue this weekend as many celebrate Cinco De Mayo.

The city said that at the moment, 67 businesses have made an application to sell alcohol after midnight.

Only 47 have been processed, and down on the list of those still waiting for approval is The Other Bar located on Wall Street.

“The city called and said you know we are not going to come in and shut you down, that we’re working towards a goal, we’re all in it together,” said Ryan Davis, who owns and operates The Other Bar.

Davis told News 6 the city has been working with bars still waiting for approval, but says while the application process has been long it’s been relatively easy.

“They do ask you for a few things. In the Other Bar’s case, we needed a site plan, and that was rolled up in my garage for 14 years,” Davis said.

After 10 p.m., downtown businesses will have to wand people if an establishment has more than 50 people.

Safety protocols like additional security are now being paid for by downtown businesses.

“It really hasn’t been any trouble for us to adapt to it. Most of the bigger places already had pretty extensive security procedures already. It’s really the cost of extra duty that’s a really big burden on businesses,” McCown said.

However, McCown said that the burden will be worth it once crowds have adjusted.

“I think for the most, part the customers are fine with it... You know, the safer we can be inside our establishments, the better,” McCown said.

Safety, in the end, is all businesses and the city say they want people to know is priority number one.

As a reminder, all bars without a special permit will have to stop selling alcohol after midnight unless that venue already talked with the city.

News 6 will be following how these rules will affect businesses as well as patrons as the weekend continues.

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About the Author:

Brian Didlake joined the News 6 team as a reporter in March 2021.