ORLANDO, Fla. — Thanks to the Cinco De Mayo holiday, downtown Orlando was a busy place Friday night.
The popular holiday is considered to be one of the busiest nights of the year in the bar industry.
However, several venues in Downtown Orlando can’t stay open late.
After weeks and months of discussion, Friday was the first night when permits would be required by the city of Orlando for bars and clubs to sell alcohol after midnight.
Officials say the city received applications from 67 different venues and or businesses.
As of Friday morning 47 permits had been issued, which allows those bars to continue to sell alcohol once the clock strikes midnight.
Cinco De Mayo, like St. Patrick’s Day and New Years, is a money maker in the bar industry. Business owners say there’s a chance to earn about 25% more than a normal Friday or Saturday night.
“Cinco De Mayo is definitely a later crowd,” said Kye Slider from behind the bar at Bullitt Bar in downtown Orlando. “Not as much as the day time drinkers, it’s people already planning to go out at night.”
When Friday night turns in to Saturday morning at 12:01 a.m., Bullitt Bar will remain open. So far, about 20 bar owners in downtown Orlando say they have still not seen their permit application get approved.
Scott Kotraba is in luck, Bullitt Bar and four of his five other venues are good to go.
“At the end of the day, downtown bars and clubs are a community,” he said. “We want everyone to thrive, it’s one of those situations where when the tides rise, all ships rise.”
The cost for an after-midnight permit is $250 dollars, and establishments with occupancies of 49 or less are exempt.
Bars, clubs, and venues will also have added costs to pay for law enforcement on the streets.
“Law enforcement is staying the same, the presence is staying the same downtown,” Kotroba said. “The only thing we have done in this process is decided who will pay for it and how we are going to pay for it.”
This new measure for downtown is not just for the safety and security of bar patrons. Bar workers are also hoping to see an added benefit.
“It’s making us a little bit more safe,” Slider said. “Especially for girls working in the bar industry. Like us being here by ourselves with out management or whatever, I feel a lot safer having the protocols being put in place.”
This weekend, code enforcement officials say members of their office will be present to make sure the bars staying open, have their proper paperwork in place to do so.
There are a number of penalties bars can face if they don’t abide by these new rules, and they get more severe each time.
Kotroba said that with his six bars, he’s looking at an extra cost of about $150,000 a year to help pay for law enforcement. He also says that several of the bar owners downtown are now trying to determine how they can recoup some of this new cost they are expecting to incur.