Orlando City Council vote on extending downtown bar hours delayed

Plan would also crackdown on partiers under 21

By Erik Sandoval - Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - The first vote on a plan that would allow downtown Orlando bars to continue pouring alcohol until 3 a.m. on weekends was delayed on Monday.

The plan would change the downtown alcohol ordinance, allowing for longer hours for alcohol to be served. Underage customers would be banned after 10 p.m., and if caught violating any of these rules, bar owners and managers would face stiff fines and penalties.

It's the last item that has some bar managers and neighbors not wanting any part of it.

"We need to be on a level playing field with everybody in regards to the 3 am drinking hours," said one bar owner. "I'm opposed to it."

"May I remind the council that another hour of violating the Word of God does have an effect because of what the Bible says," said a local pastor.

"This is not a solve-all answer," said Orlando Police Chief Paul Rooney.

Rooney is a strong supporter of the plan because he says it stresses safety.

He says most of the crimes and guns found downtown involve 18-23 year olds. Getting them out of the picture could mean a safer downtown, he said.

"We don't believe that we incorporate this 21 and under and everything will be solved," he said. "All these issues are going away. We know that's not going to happen."

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