The new ordinance states that establishments that concentrate in selling alcohol have to stop selling it at 2 a.m. seven days a week. What the ordinance did not say is that bars have to close at 2 a.m.
Many were staying open and party-goers continued to drink and party because they had a place to go. What was feared to be occurring at the rural bars was right before 2 a.m., an announcement “last call” was made letting those inside the bar know what time it was and the selling of alcohol was about to stop.
Those who wanted to continue to drink went to the bar and purchased extra alcohol to last them for a longer period of time.
Or, another fear the jurors have is that a bar owner gets wise and sells tickets before the 2 a.m. time. A person can buy six tickets before 2 a.m. and then redeem them for drinks for as long as the bar stays open.
Last week at a police jury committee meeting, the jurors advised their attorney, Paul Moresi, to begin looking at surrounding towns that have ordinances that make bars close at 2 a.m. The jurors want to see the correct way to write the ordinance, which would make rural bars close at 2 a.m.
Moresi said at Monday’s meeting he has started to research other ordinances.
The way it is now, the Sheriff’s Office has the responsibility to enforce the new “stop selling” alcohol at 2 a.m. In order to enforce it, a patrolman has to get down and go into the bar and observe if there are any violations being committed.
If the new 2 a.m. rural bar closing ordinance is passed, the patrolman only has to make sure the bar is shut down at 2 in the morning.
In the meantime, the rural bars will continue to be open as long as there are people in them.