Bars and restaurants were the subject of two new ordinances and one new policy passed by the Greensboro City Council at the Tuesday, Dec. 21 meeting.
Both ordinances legalized expanded operations of restaurants and bars, and the policy is designed to punish bars and restaurants that have a violent incident in or near their premises.
Some have said it is a case of giving with one hand and taking away with the other.
One ordinance designates a social district in downtown Greensboro where bars and restaurants are allowed to sell alcoholic beverages in to-go cups and customers are allowed to walk around in the social district while consuming their beverages from noon to 9 p.m.
The other ordinance doesn’t plow new ground like the social district but should result in the downtown area looking better. Bars and restaurants were allowed to extend their premises on to sidewalks and parking areas by use of special event permits. This was done in an effort to compensate the establishments for reduced seating inside as a result of emergency orders.
What this ordinance does is allow bars and restaurants to make those expansions, mainly into city right of ways, permanent.
This ordinance was not discussed by the City Council, but City Attorney Chuck Watts did note that the North Carolina state legislature passed a statute making the ordinance possible.
Mayor Nancy Vaughan said, “This gives business owners the security that if they want to invest more in their outside space, it will be a long term investment.”
It makes sense that a business owner would be hesitant to invest much capital in temporary outdoor space but would be much more likely to make that investment knowing that the extended outdoor space was permanent.
So, there are two ordinances to help bars and restaurants that suffered major financial losses during the COVID-19 shutdowns, and then a policy to punish privately owned for-profit bars and restaurants if a violent incident occurs in or near their premises.
The Safety Review Board the City Council created, according to its policy, will use enhanced enforcement of state laws and city ordinances to encourage compliance.
The bearings will continue until morale improves
Did anyone with the City check with other municipalities that have, or have had, the walking around with alcohol district? I don’t recall anyone mentioning the objective. If the purpose is to create more sales, I think it will result in less, because now, patrons can walk around nursing the same drink, get distracted talking to others and not make another purchase for quite awhile. Whereas, if the drinker is still inside an establishment, a new drink is easily available.
Punishing bars & restaurants, for bad customer behavior, is just a stupid idea. Punish the people who cause the problems, by taking them to jail and then giving them enough jail time that they won’t repeat. Once word gets around, most others will refrain from acting out. Small businesses are already strapped without added cost of security.
Not sure around here locally but having lived in New Orleans and Savannah Ga. they have done this for years doesn’t seem like a big deal there
The argument against the Safety Review Board has been made, but Council simply will not listen. This appointed Board has no constitutional standing and will not, as an enforcement arm of Council or Law Enforcement, have the support of Legislation. But, Council has been warned by a very knowledgeable attorney. Now, we sit back and watch the law suits fly due to discriminatory action to penalize those Bars and Restaurants, when in fact, violence occurs in these businesses in only a tiny percentage of the cases. Council is making these rulings in order to convince the voters that they are doing something to fight crime, when in fact, if 100% of the violence in bars is curbed, there will still be a tremendous crime, assault, shooting, murder problem in Greensboro.
Can’t wait to see what happens when the council tries to come down on a black owned business especially in district 1or 2
It time for all of you to go eating on the tax payers money in wrong you people make us the tax payers sick. WE WILL BE VOTING REMEMBER I PRAY YOU ALL WILL BE KICKED OUT .
Good luck with this electorate.
“Enhanced enforcement “. Sounds a bit ominous until you recognize the source. We will punish the innocent to enhance social control. I wonder what else is going to forced on the back of income producers. This is looking more and more like a page from the Biden play book ; find a policy or thing you dislike and destroy it. Please have good long memory when you vote and, as always, remember the power of “no”.