Busy weekend set for downtown Orlando as ordinance on liquor sales, nightclub moratorium looms

ORLANDO, Fla. — If you’re heading downtown this weekend, local business owners say you should expect to see more security.


Big crowds are expected for St. Patrick’s Day weekend and March Madness. It’s also the last weekend before a City Council vote Monday that could change how downtown businesses operate.

On Monday, the city will decide whether or not to require bar owners to have an after-midnight alcohol sales permit, a push by officials to make downtown Orlando safer.

READ: AAA offers ‘Tow to Go’ service to help keep drivers safe during St. Patrick’s Day weekend

Business owners like Kyle Loden said they’ve heard an estimated 35,000 people will descend on downtown just for March Madness. That doesn’t even include St. Patrick’s Day revelers.

Normally on a Friday night, we probably staff around three security guards or maybe four at each bar,” Loden said. “With the influx of people coming downtown, we’ll add two or three more guys to each bar.”

As for the liquor sales permit, Loden said he has “mixed feelings.”

READ: 9 ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Central Florida

“The city is doing what they deemed necessary for downtown,” he said. “Us as business owners are complying and making sure we’re doing everything on our end to make sure we create that same environment they’re asking for.”

Commissioners on Monday will also vote on whether or not to approve a six-month moratorium on new nightclubs downtown.

READ: March Madness expected to be a slam dunk for local businesses

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Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.