Parking blocked off in front of midtown bars for businesses to use for space

There are barricades put up to give people more space to spread out while going out to Midtown.
Published: Sep. 14, 2020 at 6:59 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Bars were allowed to open at 50% capacity across the state on Monday, including bars right here in North Central Florida.

The City of Gainesville has teamed up with the Florida Department of Transportation to block off some parking spaces in front of Midtown bars to give people more room to drink safely. The lane closest to the bars in midtown is closed off on West University Avenue.

“We want to make sure everyone is safe, if people want to go out to the bars, that’s their decision but we want to make sure that we’re still enforcing safety guidelines so that those types of risks are not life threatening,” Gainesville City Commissioner David Arreola said.

The City of Gainesville repealed their open container ordinance last week so residents and visitors are able to walk around in public with a drink in hand.

We’re going to make sure that we have additional enforcement units out in Midtown and Downtown to make sure that we’re assisting bar owners because now with the lifting of the open container ordinance people can now stand around on the sidewalk with open containers," Arreola said.

Over the past few months, some parking lots and streets in Downtown Gainesville were also blocked off to provide more outdoor seating to businesses with appropriate social distancing.

Alachua County’s emergency order does add consequences for businesses who sell alcohol to people who are not seated and to those who do not follow the 50% capacity rule.

Citations issued on the first offense will be a warning, giving businesses one hour to remedy the violation. The second offense will result in an order to cease operations for 12 hours. On the third offense, the establishment will be shut down for seven days.

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