Decatur to allow open container alcohol sales to help struggling restaurants

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Angie, an 11-year-old husky/beagle mix, hangs out with a beer-drinking friend on Food Truck Friday during the Duluth’s weekly summertime bash, Fridays-N-Duluth. (Casey Sykes for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

By Zachary Hansen

To help struggling restaurants, Decatur will temporarily allow open container alcohol sales in many of its businesses districts.

The ordinance, which passed during Monday night’s city commission meeting, will go into effect Oct. 30 and expire Jan. 3, 2021. It will allow restaurants to sell alcohol for off-premise consumption during select hours on Fridays and Saturdays.

The city council said the temporary ordinance will provide an economic boost to Decatur restaurants that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The open container law will also allow patrons to socially distance outdoors, city leaders said.

Restaurants will have to pour alcohol into approved plastic cups to sell to patrons, who will also get a wristband to wear while drinking outdoors. The cups, which will have a logo reading “Keep it in Decatur,” and wristbands will be made available through the city’s Community and Economic Development Department.

Open container alcohol sales will be allowed Friday nights from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m., and Saturday nights from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. Here are a list of the five business districts included in the ordinance:

• Decatur Downtown Business District

• East College Business District

• Oakhurst Business District

• Old Depot District

• West Ponce Business District

During the same commission meeting, the council also extended the hours that package stores and restaurants can sell alcohol on Sundays. The new hours run from 11 a.m. until midnight, which is a two-hour increase over previous hours that were set at 12:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.

The sale times for weekdays and Saturdays did not change. Sales are allowed from 9 a.m. until midnight on those days.

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