This Halloween night, open alcohol will be permitted on some downtown Orlando streets


  • Photo courtesy Wall St. Plaza
  • Boo!

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer is justifiably spooked about the large crowds that will flock to downtown Orlando nightspots this Halloween, and the possibility that this will lead to the spread of COVID-19 locally.

In an attempt to socially distance the throngs of costume-clad revelers (good luck), open-container restrictions will be allowed on closed streets in downtown Orlando on Halloween night.

With Florida well into Phase 3 of reopening, the great majority of bars and nightclubs downtown are open for business with no limits on capacity indoors, and with Halloween on a Saturday this year, that's a recipe for instant crowds everywhere you turn.

Dyer mentioned on Monday during the Orange County Government Coronavirus Update that the city was working on a plan to allow outdoors consumption of alcohol in designated area of downtown Orlando out of concern over the expected crowds that night, but didn't provide any further logistical details.

In an email sent to Orlando Weekly on Tuesday afternoon, some of the specifics of this one-night waiver were outlined by City staffer Samantha Holsten.

Though alcohol sales are still prohibited outside and on public streets downtown on Halloween, this plan "does allow for the consumption of alcohol [outdoors] so that if someone is inside a business and feels they cannot socially distance indoors, they have the opportunity to move outdoors." 

As on many weekend nights and during bigger events downtown, street closures will be in effect for "areas of the Downtown where many nighttime establishments are located. Generally along Orange Avenue in the Central Business District." Those closed areas will be where open container is OK.

The overall goal is more elbow room and less close quarters: "Closing certain streets on what is usually a very busy night for downtown will provide extra room for businesses to operate safely and patrons to socialize while still staying physically distanced from others." 

In addition, the Office of Nighttime Economy (we want this business card, BTW) will be distributing PPE to downtown businesses, and on the big night Downtown Ambassadors will face the blood-curdling task of distributing "face coverings to patrons who need them." And we wish those brave souls all the best.

Please follow CDC guidelines and Orange County advisories to stay safe, and please support this free publication. Our small but mighty team is working tirelessly to bring you news on how coronavirus is affecting Central Florida. Please consider making a one-time or monthly donation. Every little bit helps.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.