Macon business owner speaks about potential extension of open container policy

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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) — Local businesses could soon sell open container drinks to customers on the go.

Next Tuesday, the board of commissioners will consider expanding Macon’s open container policy beyond Friday nights for downtown.

Newtown Macon along with Commissioner Larry Schleginser asks that the open container policy expansion remains in effect until the end of 2020.

“The First Friday open container ordinance [should] apply daily,” said Emily Hopkin, director of Place for Newtown Macon.

The current policy allows those who visit licensed downtown businesses to carry an open container of alcohol on the street every Friday.

Hopkins says the policy should change from every Friday to daily, from 4 p.m. till 10 p.m.

Hopkins says if approved, businesses with alcohol licenses can sell open container drinks to customers on the go. However, customers must use approved containers from participating businesses and they can not bring their own drinks.

“[This] helps get more foot traffic downtown and promote support local business in a safe way,” said Hopkins.

How do business owners feel about an open container policy?

Some downtown business owners that the ordinance will help restaurants and bars impacted by COVID-19.

“When we had to close in March and not reopen until June, revenue completely stopped,” said Jeremy Jackson, owner of Daiquiris & More and Crave Scratch Kitchen.

Jackson says the pandemic forced him to change hours of operation for the daiquiris bar. Also, his restaurant was set to open last February but got postponed until later this month.

“This was a major set back but of course we have to push forward,” Jackson said. “Because at some point, we have to get back to a new normal for everyone.”

Jackson says he hopes that commissioners pass the ordinance to make up for the lost revenue.

Hopkin says one main concern surrounds the safety of those drinking. She says Place for Newtown Macon is working with the Business Improvement District to get safety patrol.