Stiffer Penalties for Businesses Caught Selling Alcohol to Underage Customers
GAINESVILLE - A new crowd of freshmen are ready to descend upon Gainesville for another school year and city leaders are taking steps to make sure "Happy Hour" is alcohol free for them.
City leaders want to build on a three-year-old ordinance designed to punish nightspots that serve underage patrons.
Commissioners voted 5 to 1 in support of a petition that will prohibit restaurants and bars from expanding the boundaries of their business during community -wide special events.
With college football season drawing nearer, at risk business owners are worried about major cuts to their profits.
"I think the number that needs to be discussed here is 1.8 million dollars that was generated from a special event at 101 Cantina," said Ryan Prodesky, member of 101 Management Group. "That's not just for 101 Cantina, that's a pool for all other business owners."
Three years ago the Gainesville City Commission passed the underage drinking ordinance in response to negative statistics.
"Establishments are doing what we asked them to, which is aggresively attack underage drinking," City Commissioner Randy Wells said. "This city was known not too many years ago."
The University of Florida was ranked the number #1 party school in the nation. In 2008, 915 underage drinking reports were reported by the Gainesville Police Department.
The new ordinance will be brought before the commissioners twice for a reading before it is expected to be go into effect.
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