Changes To Alcohol Ordinance To Take Effect On July 1, 2016

Devin Conway

The Statesboro City Council recently passed proposed changes to the city’s alcohol ordinance that will be implemented on July 1, the same date in which Michael’s Law is set to take effect across the state.

The City Councilmen came up with these legislative changes in collaboration with the Mayor of Statesboro, Jan Moore.

“I think it was really a collaborative effort,” Jeffrey Yawn, City Councilman and Executive Director of Eagle Dining Services, said.

The changes will allow the city to temporarily shut down a bar in the event of a violent incident, establish a clear categorical distinction between bar and restaurant that eliminates the city’s 50/50 rule for local businesses that receive half of their sales from food and half of them from alcohol and bans all persons under 21 from businesses that are classified as bars.

The ordinance will also require that bartenders and bouncers are properly trained prior to their employment.

This particular revision has been a focal point of the campaign for change by the parents of Michael Gatto, the freshman Georgia Southern student that lost his life following a violent incident at Rude Rudy’s.

His parents’ website, which summarizes the objectives of their push for Michael’s Law, states that, “The training course helps to educate Bouncers on the proper way to diffuse altercations safely, how much force to use, and when to call police, along with how to inspect ID’s and identify intoxicated individuals.”

The rules require training for bartenders and bouncers and gives the city more latitude to deny someone from getting a license and puts more scrutiny on places once they get a license.

“We as a City Council are here to protect the citizens, including business owners. We have to look at all perspectives when we make the decisions that we make,” Yawn said.

In addition to the changes made to the ordinance, City Council also decided to create a position called the ‘Designated Alcohol Officer’, whose job will entail visiting local places of business and ensuring that their owners and employees are doing their part to uphold the law.

This position will be paid for by a $500 increase in alcohol licensing fees for local establishments.

Yawn said, “It’s our responsibility to make sure that what we do is best for our entire community.”