DeLand is in the headlines a lot this week, mostly because of massive storm damage earlier in the week, but also because of a recent initiative to promote safe dining in its downtown core.
The DeLand City Commission approved a resolution on Monday, August 17 that allows people to drink alcohol in the public right-of-way. The City of DeLand will also be closing down streets and allowing for more outdoor dining options to encourage more people to visit the downtown and support local businesses.
The State of Florida has banned people from drinking in bars due to the coronavirus pandemic and limited the capacity for on site consumption in restaurants with no end in site to lifting those restrictions.
DeLand’s Community Information Specialist, Chris Graham, told Bungalower that they have suspended enforcement of the local ordinance that prohibits open containers in the past for special events, so the precedent had already been set. This new motion by the city will allow for open container beverages in the downtown for as long as the state’s emergency order is in place, which has already allowed for the sale of to-go alcohol, on Fridays and Saturdays from 5-10 p.m.
Downtown businesses will be providing specialized eco-friendly glasses to their guests so that law enforcement knows the alcohol came from a local storefront. The City is also working to establish a series of outdoor areas where people can sit to eat and drink what they purchase from local businesses in a physically-distant setting – much like the pop-up courtyard on the Osceola Loop that the Thornton Park Main Street is hosting each week.
The program in DeLand is expected to launch this September but something similar should be launched in Orlando to support our own businesses. Under current regulations, it is illegal to drink alcoholic beverages in public areas. You can sit in a designated patio area outside of a restaurant to eat and drink on site but you cannot take those drinks to another area like a public park.