Downtown Orlando bars now need special permit to sell alcohol after midnight

Starting on Monday, downtown Orlando bar owners will need a special permit to operate after midnight.

The Alcohol Sales After Midnight permit for bars in downtown Orlando will go into effect Monday, but some businesses are still waiting to get their permits approved.

According to a representative with the City of Orlando, of the 61 applications they received for the special permit as of Friday, 28 have been approved so far.

Bar owners are concerned they won't get the permits in time for the busy Cinco De Mayo holiday, which typically brings in big money for bars between the midnight and 2 a.m. timeframe.

"These are mom-and-pop businesses, not cooperations, and for many of them missing one major holiday where they serve a lot of alcohol between midnight and 2 a.m., like Cinco De Mayo, that could shut them down," Dave Green with the Orlando Hospitality Alliance, said. 

Orlando city leaders believe the new rules will help to make downtown safer, especially after a shooting in downtown Orlando last summer that hurt multiple people.

Bar owners are hoping the city will give those who are waiting for their permit to be approved a grace period.

"There’s a lot of anxiety. It’s really scary for business owners, in any industry, to feel like City Hall on a whim can shut your business down during its busiest times," Green said.