Open-container ordinance remains after Gainesville city leaders couldn’t find middle ground

Some residents and commissioners want to do away with the ordinance altogether.
Published: Mar. 2, 2023 at 7:14 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -Gainesville city leaders hit a brick wall on scaling back open container hours and now there are concerns about rising violent crime.

In 2020, commissioners rejected the regulation, instead allowing businesses to sell alcohol, and consumers to drink it safely in public during the pandemic.

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However, with the rise of complaints about late night and early morning chao, commissioners brought forth the idea to scale back open container hours.

Marshal Patrick, bar manager at Losey’s, thinks scaling back the hours wouldn’t make a difference.

“I understand why they would want to do it because it could get kind of hairy down here,” said Patrick. “But if the bars are open till 2 a.m., I think it should just be across the board the way we run everything down here. That’s the way I see it.”

Gainesville police chief Lonnie Scott addressed the dangerous effects of the ordinance, but no action was taken.

Now, some residents and commissioners want to do away with the ordinance altogether.

“I personally feel that this should be completely abolished,” said resident Ernesto Martinez. “Alcohol at any hour and weapons do not mix. Scaling back the hours is only going to aggravate the situation and people would drink faster. There’s no way with an unstaffed police department you can control a crowd of thousands of drunks for lack of a better word.”

People can still walk the streets with their favorite drinks in hand, but parking lots and garages are still prohibited.

For now, open-container drinking is legal until 2-a.M, however, commissioners unanimously decided to revisit the ordinance soon.

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