State suspends alcohol license for 3 downtown Orlando bars citing failure to enforce social distancing, plans to appeal underway

ORLANDO, Fla. — Three downtown Orlando bars have had their alcoholic vendor license suspended after the state said they failed to enforce social distancing.

Mathers, Shots and Joysticks, which are all operated by Mathers LLC & Dobson Family Trust and are in the same building, will have to stop selling alcohol until further notice due to the decision by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

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Officials with DBPR said on Aug. 8 customers were being served while standing at the bar area.

“Patrons were standing shoulder-to-shoulder while standing at the bar area. Social distancing measures were not being enforced,” officials said.

DBPR did not specify which of the three bars the issue occurred.

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The husband of Joysticks’ owner told Eyewitness News that it’s frustrating to be lumped in with the situation since that bar hasn’t been open since March 15.

A registered owner of Mathers said he agreed, that the violation wasn’t at Joysticks since it wasn’t even open. But he doesn’t know if this order is aimed at something that happened at his bar or at Shots.

The bars were open because they have food licenses to sell food and drinks at tables.

The owner of Mathers said it’s tough since they’ve already been struggling, and he doesn’t believe there was a violation at all, and is sending information to his attorney to appeal the order.

Stay tuned to Channel 9 Eyewitness News for updates.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson,

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.