The Greensboro City Council will consider an ordinance that could remarkably alter the vibe in downtown Greensboro at the Tuesday, Dec. 21 meeting.

The ordinance, made possible by new state statutes, has not been previously discussed at a City Council meeting or work session, although they may have been discussed by city councilmembers in small group meetings, which are not subject to the North Carolina Open Meetings Law and is the preferred method of doing business for the current City Council. 

The ordinance on the agenda for the Dec. 21 meeting will create a “Social District” beginning March 1 in downtown Greensboro, where people will be allowed to consume alcoholic beverages – beer, wine, fortified wine and mixed drinks – purchased from a business with an on-premises alcohol consumption license, while walking around in the defined “Social District.” (See map above.)

In short, this ordinance allows people to buy the alcoholic beverage of their choice from a bar or restaurant and walk around the Social District while consuming that beverage during the hours of noon to 9 p.m.

There are some quirky components to the proposed ordinance.  The alcoholic beverage container must clearly display the business from which the beverage was purchased as well as “a logo or some other mark that is unique to the Downtown Greensboro Social District.”  The container must also display “in no less than 12-point font, the statement, “Drink Responsibly – Be 21,” can be no larger than 16 fluid ounces and cannot be glass.

Although people are allowed to walk around the Social District with an alcoholic beverage in such a container, people are not allowed to enter the premises of a bar or restaurant with an alcoholic beverage purchased at a different bar or restaurant.

However, with an alcoholic beverage in an approved container, a person is allowed to enter a retail establishment that does not have an alcohol license, with the permission of that business.  So, people would be allowed to purchase an alcoholic beverage and consume it as they shop in the Social District.

People can walk around the Social District with an alcoholic beverage in an approved container but they cannot leave the Social District with that beverage.