After a shooting in downtown Orlando over the weekend that left seven people in hospital, Mayor Buddy Dyer is now planning to add additional security measures, and business owners in some areas are All said yes.
What you need to know
- Checkpoints could be set up as early as Friday in downtown Orlando after seven people were injured in a weekend shooting
- Downtown business owner says he wants to see more police on foot at night
- Downtown bars still close at 2am
Measures include controlled entrances, access points into parts of downtown, and gun detection dogs, Dyer said.
Some downtown bar owners say what they need is more police presence. A policeman roams downtown on foot at night.
Albatros Rexha, who owns Cocina Pizza & Bar, said he is optimistic that the additional measures announced by Dyer will help bring more families downtown.
“Church Street is as remote as it is today and not as popular as it used to be, so it lacks a lot of the friendly family environment,” he said as he prepared drinks.
Dyer, who has conveyed the same sentiment since his city speech earlier this year, said it again on Monday.
“We don’t have the right combination downtown right now,” he said. “There are probably more bars downtown than you need.
And it’s a crowd of both, and Rexha says he’s lucky that downtown workers who stop by for lunch or family meals make up half of his business.
The other half are the late-night crowd (those who go out after 10 or 11pm) for pizza and bar munchies.
“We have chicken wings and tenders here. We’re open late 24/7,” says Rexha. “If it’s an event night, we’re open here until 2am to keep everyone happy and fed.”
Dyer said the tightening of downtown security measures will likely begin this weekend or next week. Businesses like Rexha, he says, owners know how important a positive downtown experience is to both employees and customers.
“They need a place to be comfortable, to make money, pay their bills and feel safe,” he said. “It’s a two-way street because it applies not only to employees, but to customers as well.”