Those under 21 are persona non grata at certain Georgia bars beginning today, July 1, 2016.
The change is the result of a bill passed last year by the Senate and signed by Gov. Nathan Deal that bans anyone under the age of 21 from entering bars and requires all bar bouncers to be 21 or older. It also requires these bars and city or county governments to more quickly notify the Department of Revenue when the bar is cited for an alcohol violation.
According to figures compiled by the Georgia Restaurant Association, approximately 11,700 businesses hold on-premises alcohol consumption licenses. Of those, only 1,962 are bars, clubs or taverns that would be subject to the new law.
Entertainment facilities that have liquor licenses are exempted from the changes. Those establishments can still allow entrance to people under 21 years of age.
House Bill 152 , otherwise known as "Michael's Law," was introduced in the wake of the death last year of 18-year-old Michael Gatto. Gatto was a student at Georgia Southern University when he was beaten and left unconscious outside Rude Rudy's, a bar in Statesboro. A former bouncer at Rude Rudy's was charged with aggravated assault in the beating. Rude Rudy's later closed and its owner surrendered its liquor license.
AJC reporter Aaron Gould Sheinin contributed to this report.
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Credit: Ben Hendren for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution