South Florida clubs increase security after Orlando shooting

WILTON MANORS, Fla. (WSVN) — Several South Florida clubs and events are stepping up their security to keep everyone safe in the wake of the shooting in Orlando.

At The Manor Complex, a gay-friendly club and lounge, authorities have increased their security due to the upcoming Pride Weekend in Wilton Manors. Police said they will double the amount of officers on hand for this year’s event in comparison to 2015 festivities.

Dozens participated in a walk along Wilton Drive, Monday, to remember those who lost their lives in the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

One man told 7News that he refuses to live a life of fear and uncertainty. “We’re not living in fear,” he said. “This is not going to stop us from being who we are. That even though people may try to scare us into hiding, that we’ve come too far to go back to where we were.”

In the wake of the attack, The Manor nightclub told 7News they hired a security company as a precaution. “It’s a licensed, insured bonded security team,” said Gary Santis, The Manor’s general manager. “I will be out here as well. They will be conducting light pat downs at the front door, as well as checking the bags and making sure nobody comes through the front door that is not wanted.”

Backpacks have never been allowed inside the club, but now purse sizes will be restricted. Club-goers will be screened starting Friday.

The club’s doors have also been taken into consideration. “As you can see, all our doors are equipped with push bars. Therefore, they can only be opened from the inside in case of an emergency,” Santis said.

The 17th annual Stonewall Parade will take place this weekend in Wilton Manors, and the Orlando tragedy is on the minds of many. “After what happened in Orlando, the operational plan was revisited, and it was intensified,” said Wilton Manors Police Chief Paul O’Connell. “Without giving specific numbers, I can tell you there’s going to be an overwhelming uniform presence this weekend.”

“We’re working on setting something up, so there is a very public time of remembrance,” said parade organizer Jeffrey Sterling. “It’s not just about getting together and celebrating what we accomplished.”

On Miami Beach, Twist, a bar that serves South Florida’s gay and lesbian community, recently upgraded their cameras. “As you can see, there’s another camera up there,” said Twist owner Richard Trainor.

The popular South Beach nightclub is also considering a screening of customers at the door. “We’re looking into some things like maybe wands for metal detection,” Trainor said. “We’re gonna see how sensitive they are, whether they can be set so that belt buckles won’t set them off or things like that.”

Organizers said they expect about 30,000 people to show up for the Wilton Manors parade.

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