Open container policies on game days could be changing this season

Published: Sep. 4, 2018 at 11:53 PM EDT
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Gator fans may be able to walk around with their beers this football season without having to worry about a costly citation.

The Gainesville City Commission held a joint meeting on campus with UF Student Senate.

The commission voted 6 to 1 to look into an open container pilot program.

This program would allow residents to walk the streets near campus with alcohol during game days.

Right now, open containers are allowed on the UF campus.

"But if you take one step onto the sidewalk you could be arrested. I don't think that's something we want to have for a gameday experience. How to make it easy on game days to be able to safely walk down the street with maybe a glass of beer and not worry about getting arrested,” Adrian Hayes-Santos, Gainesville City Commissioner District 4, said.

The commission also discussed the possibility of allowing bars to stay open past 2 am but without serving alcohol past a certain time.

Captain Jorge Campos from the Gainesville Police Department says there were some problems when bars were able to do this several years ago.

"There were some establishments that would have raves, which is the idea in itself is not necessarily harmful but it's the type of people that it attracts and then you have people that abuse drugs that come to some of these events,” Captain Campos said.

Campos also says staffing could be an issue for police with several people staying out later, while some commissioners say the bars staying open later could allow for more time for people to safely call for a ride home.

The commission is hoping to make a decision on an open container pilot program before the end of the football season.

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