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Ocala
Thursday, June 23, 2022

DeSantis signs bill authorizing open containers in downtown Ocala during designated events

Governor Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 1429 on Wednesday which allows for downtown Ocala businesses to sell alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption during designated events.

The legislation authorizes businesses inside the downtown area “event zone” to sell alcohol off the licensed premises and on public rights-of-way and public park property during city-approved special events. Under the legislation, a maximum of 12 such events per calendar year will be allowed.

The event zone consists of approximately 34 blocks of downtown Ocala, including the downtown square, Citizens’ Circle, and the Ocala Downtown Marketplace.

DeSantis signs bill authorizing open containers in downtown Ocala during designated events 1
The event zone in downtown Ocala includes popular spots like Citizens’ Circle and the downtown square

A resolution for each proposed special event within the zone will go before the Ocala City Council for approval, and the event organizers will be required to identify the type of event, location within the event zone, and alcoholic beverage establishments that will be selling in the event zone.

A special container that is unique to each city-approved event will be used for alcohol consumption, and the type and color of these containers will be identified in a resolution by the Ocala City Council.

City officials are hopeful that this legislation will positively impact downtown Ocala’s growth by fostering partnerships between local businesses and event organizers.

The Ocala City Council meets at 4 p.m. on the first and third Tuesday of every month at Ocala City Hall, which is located at 110 SE Watula Avenue.