Tybee considers beach alcohol ban

By Jess Kean, Staff Writer

Alcohol has been reportedly linked to a number of recent arrests on Tybee Island.  Incidents involving drinking have brought about several cases arguing issues of public safety. Tybee officials are currently looking at ways to reduce criminal activity on the island, including prohibiting alcohol in certain areas.

This past spring, the Tybee community prepared for the crowds that accompany Savannah’s well-known Orange Crush event. Though unlike past years hosting the annual beach party, a shooting near the pier raised many questions about whether or not alcohol should be restricted to promote safety on the beach.

Following the incident, Mayor of Tybee Island, Jason Buelterman, brought in a task force to examine the issues and present a set of recommendations to the City Council, advising them on how to enforce safety during holidays and large events.

Mayor Pro Tempore, Wanda Doyle, states, “I think that alcohol is a big problem for more than Orange Crush, but with the Fourth of July and other events. We have fights, things get out of hand, police have to get called.”

Many feel strongly that an alcohol ban on Tybee would be unreasonable. Armstrong student, Isaac Gaither says, “That’s not the solution to violence – it’s the people.” He feels that other solutions should be considered.

Another Armstrong student, Ben Weaver, added, “There are people who go out there to drink just for the fun of it.”

Others argue that restricting alcohol could hurt local, alcohol-serving businesses. Doyle points out that, “A ban on alcohol on the beach could possibly increase revenue in the bars by bringing people into the bars.”

The task force reportedly finished their meetings last week but have yet to present their recommendations to City Council.  The council’s ultimate goal is to reach a solution that is in the interest of both residents and visitors alike.

The decision on whether Tybee’s City Council will continue allowing drinks to be consumed on the beach or choose to enforce restrictions will be determined later this year. As of right now, solutions are still on the table for discussion and the City Council continues to explore its options.