After a shooting in downtown Orlando over the weekend that left seven people injured, changes are being made to stop the violence, with local business owners saying it’s a good thing.
what you need to know
- After the shootings last weekend, local police are linking checkpoints in the downtown area
- Local businesses are happy with the change
- Leaders want people to still come to town and feel safe
Mayor Dyer announced on Monday that access checkpoints would be the same for those visiting the area later this week.
John SanFelippo has many downtown bars, restaurants and music venues such as The Social, The Beacham and Aero.
“Twelve in total in Downtown Orlando,” he said. “27 years down here, we’re not going anywhere.”
His longevity in the downtown area was one of the reasons why he was devastated to hear of a shooting that only a few yards from his business injuring seven.
“Well, that’s pretty bad, isn’t it?” They said. “I mean, nobody wants to hear violence happening anywhere, and especially when it’s at your front door.”
San Felipo said she is thrilled to hear that city and Orlando police are taking action. The current plan is to bring in six access checkpoints – which will help monitor people moving in and out of the city – in the area later this week.
One of them will go right outside of San Felipo’s many businesses.
“It’s going to be an additional layer of security to what’s already being done to keep out the bad elements of people coming into the city,” he said. “Where there are 20,000 to 30,000 people a night who want to come out and have a great time, and one or two people can’t interrupt what we’re doing here.”
City officials said similar access checkpoints have already been used three times – for New Year’s Eve, St Patrick’s Day and Cinco de Mayo.
“They set up their barricades, and it’s kind of a funneling point and people walk in just fine, they don’t even think twice about it,” San Felipo said. “They basically have them on each side of the exit and they tell people, ‘Hey, you just have to go through the middle.’ They have dogs looking for any sort of stuff that ain’t coming into downtown Orlando and most 99% of people walk just fine without even thinking about it.”
Orlando officials say they’re also supporting local businesses with the SAFE Grant program — which pays 50% of the cost — up to $10,000, if approved — for security upgrades on metal detectors and security cameras.
SanFelippo said it already takes its precautions for its businesses, by alerting patrons and using security cameras. He hopes businesses and the city can make people feel safe when he visits the area on the weekend.
“They should have a level of comfort and they should feel safe in the city of Orlando,” Sanfelippo said.
He said he thinks overall Downtown Orlando is still a very safe place to visit.