EDITORIAL: City Tells Club Patrons: Stay Home!

In March of last year the City of Orlando passed a new ordinance that required clubs and bars to get permits if they wanted to stay open after midnight. It established requirements for larger venues to post a police officer outside. It required most venues to have electronic drivers license scanners to verify validity and the age of the holder. Chapter 42 of the ordinance presented clubs with strict new noise restrictions that could lead to license suspensions if there were three violations. Since then on weekend nights, we’ve seen numerous instances of employees wearing “Code Enforcement” shirts wandering around downtown streets, holding out their decibel meters, trying to find violations. All of this was designed for one purpose: to put downtown bars and clubs out of business. (Photo Above: City of Orlando)
And now we have this. Effective last weekend, parking garages owned by the City of Orlando will close at 11PM on weekend nights. It appears that if you get inside those garages before 11PM, it’s OK, you’ll be able to get back out, but no new entries beginning at 11PM. Roads leading to those garages will also be blocked. Someone has produced a list (shown ^ above) of privately-owned garages that apparently will still be open after 11PM if you can get to them. There are other private garages as well not on the above list. There are also many privately-owned surface lots and of course street meter parking (which is free after 7PM). We contacted the city’s parking division on Monday morning for clarification but the response was denial, saying the city owned garage on Central Blvd, for example, was open 24/7. (Again, the above list is a partial list of privately owned garages that you can park in after 11PM.)

Why are they doing this when those City garages earn thousands of dollars of revenue every weekend? All of this is designed for one purpose: to put downtown bars and clubs out of business. To you the patron, the City of Orlando is telling you: STAY HOME!