Sip and shop along Sanford's Main Street district during open-container event

For one day only, customers along Historic Sanford's Main Street district can go from store to store and shop while sipping on their favorite alcoholic drink.

Organizers hope it brings more people downtown.

At the Old Jail House restaurant, it's looking merry and bright. Workers prepare for Small Business Saturday on November 28, where customers will be able to drink both inside and outside along Sanford's Main Street downtown area during an open-container event.

Mike Yebba is a server. "Makes me feel great. The holidays are such a special time of the year and I think this is a great opportunity to really ring in the holiday season, unite us again."

But with COVID numbers on the rise, we asked Sanford Main Street President Christina Hollerbach if it would be safe for people to attend.

"The numbers are what they are. You can’t force people to do anything. All we can do is practice things safely and encourage people to do the same," she said. 

During Orlando’s Halloween celebration, people packed downtown without masks.

"We almost did open container for Halloween and decided against it, just for that reason," Hollerbach said. 

She says many businesses have suffered since the pandemic, including her family's restaurant.

"The restaurant was really low there for a while. We terminated a lot of staff during the shutdowns."

While Hollerbach's restaurant is almost back to normal after expanding, she says many others aren’t.

"Now it's more than ever needed that we need to do something like this. That we can give people the resources we need to survive."

Yebba said, "I think people now days are looking for opportunities where they can still feel responsible and not have the guilt or shame with being in a social environment."

This event takes place on the Saturday after Thanksgiving from 2 p.m. until midnight.

All drinks must be purchased at downtown bars or restaurants.