Drinking hours expanded in Florence’s entertainment district

Drinking hours expanded in Florence’s entertainment district

FLORENCE, Ala. (WAFF) - If you’ve enjoyed Florence’s designated entertainment districts in the past, you’re going to love this.

Drinking alcohol on the streets of downtown Florence on Friday, Saturday and Sunday is a reality, thanks to a new ordinance that just went into effect.

Last year, the City Council adopted an ordinance designating a portion of the downtown area for people to enjoy drinking on the streets for big events.

This week, the city changed the rules. Now people are allowed to drink alcohol in the entertainment district every weekend, not just for special events.

The rule change is going to mean a boost for the economy and foot traffic downtown. And it’s a potential boost for businesses.

“This was supported of course by the downtown area. When they started this project they were making sure that it would go over well and that it was beneficial to businesses, and of course it was good for the downtown area. They have not had any problems or issues and so of course it was proposed for it to go to every weekend," said media coordinator Rachel Koonce.

As Florence continues to grow so does the restaurant and bar scene. The people spending dollars downtown are jump-starting the city’s economy.

“Visitors are the ones that are really going to spend more money. They’re going to stay longer if that;s available and make Florence and the Shoals area a place they want to come back and vacation," said Alison Stanfield with Florence-Lauderdale Tourism.

Stanfield says it is an exciting time to be living in Florence.

With the entertainment district expanding, more businesses could be popping up downtown.

“We’ve got other cities around us that have got new product development, new tourist attractions, so we have to be ahead of the game to provide great tourism offerings for our visitors," Stanfield said.

The entertainment district will be open from 5 p.m. Friday and ends 6 p.m. Sunday.

City leaders say the entertainment district will not be in place for First Fridays because they would like to keep it a family atmosphere.

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