Parking lots surrounding Mercedes-Benz Stadium will generally open five hours prior to kickoff.
Five hours is a lot of time to have fun, but it’s also a lot of time to potentially violate a rule. And no one wants that.
So, let’s review some general guidelines on how to be on your best behavior leading up to the Falcons v. Cowboys game on Nov. 12.
According to a stadium spokeswoman:
- Tailgating is allowed in designated parking lots. (See more about that here, and read more about it later in this article.) It is prohibited in the multi-level garages.
- Vehicles may take up only one parking space, and tailgating equipment may not extend beyond the parking space, or impede vehicles driving through the lot.
- Grills, chairs, coolers and other equipment may not take up a parking space. Tailgating is confined to the area directly behind the vehicle.
- Adjacent landscaped areas are common areas and may not be claimed exclusively.
- Dispose of trash in appropriate receptacles. Dispose of coals in coal containers provided in the lots.
Tailgaters also want to make sure they don’t upset law enforcement.
Here are some of the city ordinances people may want to take into consideration, according to the Atlanta Police Department. These ordinance summaries aren’t exhaustive and can be read more thoroughly here.
-Alcohol consumption near package stores:
It is unlawful to open or drink any part of any type of alcoholic beverage within 100 feet of any retail store where alcoholic beverages are sold in package form, or within the boundary lines of the property on which such retail store is located.
-Drinking in public:
It is unlawful to drink any wine, malt or other alcoholic beverage while on any streets, sidewalks, alleyways, parking areas or other open areas operated and controlled by the city, or while in or on the grounds of any MARTA station.
NOTE: The above rule applies to parking areas operated and controlled by the city, not to privately-owned or state-owned parking lots. None of the lots designated by the stadium as “tailgating approved” appear to be controlled by the city.
- The Georgia World Congress Center owns the Blue Lot, Yellow Lot and the Marshalling Yard lots. A spokeswoman declined to say whether drinking is allowed in its lots, but said: “We encourage everyone to tailgate responsibly, take advantage of the recycling bins offered in the lots and, most importantly, have a great time at the games this season.”
- Whether drinking is allowed or not in private lots is decided by the owner. While APD can’t charge someone in a private lot for drinking in public, a person could potentially be charged with criminal trespass if they violate the owner’s rules.
- If someone leaves the parking lot boundaries and enters a public street or public area with a drink, that’s considered drinking in public.
-Disorderly while under the influence:
It is unlawful for any person within in the city to be disorderly while under the influence of alcohol or drugs in public places. This includes:
- Creating an unreasonable risk of harm to himself, to others or to property;
- Defecating or urinating on the streets or sidewalks, in the halls or elevators of public or commercial buildings, or on any property open to public view;
- Using fighting words or panhandling;
- Acting in a violent or tumultuous manner toward another so as to endanger the life, limb, health or property of another;
- Lying down or obstructing pedestrian or vehicular traffic in a public place and refusing to remove themselves when ordered to do so by a city police officer or other lawful authority;
- Acting in a boisterous, turbulent, or agitated manner, or using profane, vulgar, loud or unbecoming language.
-Furnishing to, purchasing of, or possession by persons under 21 years of age of alcoholic beverages:
No one under 21 may purchase, drink or knowingly possess any alcoholic beverages. No one may supply it to them. Underage drinking is illegal.
-Sound level limitations:
No one may cause or permit the operation of any noise source as to create a sound level that exceeds the background sound level by ten dBA or more during daytime hours or five dBA or more during nighttime hours when measured within the real property line of a receiving property.
-Specific prohibited acts:
It is unlawful for any person to cause or permit a number of other acts — unless a temporary variance has been obtained — some of which include:
- Owning, possessing, or harboring any animal or bird that, for a continued duration in excess of 15 minutes, generates noise that is plainly audible at a distance of five feet or more from the property line of a residential property;
- Car drifting on private property within 1,000 feet of a residentially zoned district. Car drifting shall mean a driving technique or motorsport where the driver intentionally over steers, causing loss of traction in the rear wheels, while maintaining control from entry to exit of a corner.