ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Last call in the City of Orlando is 2 a.m. Now, a new Orlando ordinance permanently sets in-place a ban on bars staying open longer than 2 a.m., everywhere in the city.
There had already been a temporary ban on after-hours alcohol sales in the city. Thursday's unanimous city council vote makes the late-night booze ban permanent.
So, if you're living it up in one of Orlando’s great bars, restaurants or nightclubs, go ahead! But keep in mind that the party ends at 2 a.m. Police Chief John Mina says that's just fine.
“The ban on clubs opening up after 2 o'clock in the morning just makes sense from a public safety aspect. Citizens remain safe downtown and keeping clubs open past that hour is a drain on not only police but fire as well,” Mina says.
Mina feels that at that time of night, his manpower is better used in other parts of the city.
“What it'll do is let us take those resources that would've needed to stay downtown and we can put them back into our neighborhoods to keep the rest of our residents safe.”
Out at Orlando's nightlife district, folks had a mixed response to the ban. Some of them say it's a good idea.
“I actually witnessed somebody go off-road because they was too drunk,” says Devon Velez, “it was like three or four in the morning. So I kind of see that's pretty good.”
“I think they should allow it, but at the same time I see why they'd try to stop it. Because problems happen when you're drunk. I wouldn't go for it, but buy your beer - buy your stuff before it,” agrees Aida Mercedes.
Others, like Ed Hoener, think it's a futile effort. “There'll be illegal bars, or they'll find a house or something, but they're not going to stop if they don't want to at two o'clock. I'm from Detroit, other big cities, they all have them,” Hoener says.
“Everybody likes to party, everybody's young. So just live it up! Yeah!” says Natasha Branco.
Regardless, it's the law now, and Chief Mina says it's all in the name of safety. “We want people to come downtown, have a good time, and then leave and go home.”
This ban is the first of several recommendations the city's nightlife taskforce has made. They'll also be making other suggestions to the city council regarding transportation, quality of life, and public safety later on in the fall.