Downtown Sanford prepares for open containers on Small Business Saturday

The City of Sanford is trying something different this year for Small Business Saturday. The stores are setting up displays outside, and the bars are stocked with to-go cups as Sanford gears up for an open container Small Business Saturday. 

"I think it will expand the business from the restaurants," said Knight's Shoe Store owner Stephanie Richards.

After a rough year for retail, Richards is hoping her antique shop will score some big foot traffic Saturday.

"People want to be outside. They’re tired of being cramped up," Richards added.

RELATED: Small Business Saturday could make or break retailers hit hard by pandemic

Bars and restaurants downtown are set to participate in open container rules from 2 p.m. to midnight Saturday, allowing for people to stroll through Sanford with a drink, stop in the shops, and keep a safe distance from others outside. 

When Orlando did this on Halloween night, it resulted in large crowds in the streets with no social distancing or masks. The president of Sanford Main Street, Christina Hollerbach, considered doing this on Halloween also but changed plans.

"We thought that they may attract the wrong crowd or something that’s very heavy in drinking and debauchery," said Hollerbach.

So they moved it to Small Business Saturday. Some say with more stores in Downtown Sanford than Orlando and a different focus, it will be more organized.

"The crowd is going to be different. It’s going to be a different crowd here. It’s that old-time feel, historical area," said Aaron Rodriguez, who lives nearby in Deltona.

Others are not so sure.

"I’m staying out of the crowds. As I said, it will depend on how you are taking care of yourself," said Euridice Molinary, who lives in Sanford.

Store owners hope the alcohol may actually be a benefit.

"The more they drink, the more they spend. Sad to say but it’s true," said Richards.

Some of the bars are setting up to-go beverage stations while stores are setting up racks outside for customers who don't feel comfortable coming into the buildings. 

FOX 35 News reached out to Sanford Police about their plans to monitor the event Saturday, but they have not responded.