While she voted with her colleagues to extend the ordinance, she said it might be beneficial to extend the open container hours or include more weekdays in the future. The extension expires April 18.
“If we spread it out a little bit more over time, we would probably avoid the perceived congestion that individuals are concerned about in our downtown areas and other districts,” she said.
During the meeting, three business owners spoke in favor of extending their ability to sell alcohol by the glass. Stephanie Castellucci, the owner of Iberian Pig’s downtown Decatur location, said it’s been a much-needed source of revenue.
“The additional sales really helped us throughout the pandemic in various ways,” she said. “Our guests really love it. Everyone has been really respectful of it and followed the rules and the regulations around it.”
Michael Gallagher, a co-owner of Brick Store Pub, added that furloughs and layoffs are a reality for many small business owners, especially those in the hospitality sector. He said open container alcohol sales are similar to expanding outdoor dining and carryout services, since they reduce indoor dining demand.
“It encourages people to be outside, to spend some money and to support local businesses,” he said. “Sure, you have to take your mask off to abide, but I think outdoors has proven to be the safest way.”
Restaurants have to pour alcohol into approved plastic cups to sell to patrons, who also get a wristband to wear while drinking outdoors. Open container alcohol sales are allowed Friday nights from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m., and Saturday nights from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Five business districts are included in the ordinance:
• Decatur Downtown Business District
• East College Business District
• Oakhurst Business District
• Old Depot District
• West Ponce Business District
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