MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - The Mobile City Council voted to pass an ordinance allowing open containers in two entertainment districts. The change will take effect on April 1.
The ordinance would allow people within the districts to buy an alcoholic drink from a bar or restaurant and take it outside on the sidewalk. There are some restrictions on the number of drinks per person and the size of the drinks.
The allotted time will be from 4:00 PM- 2:30 AM.
People are allowed to drink from designated 16 oz. cups provided by the bar or business. Bottles and cans are not permitted. People will have to toss their drinks before entering a new business.
Council member William Carroll sponsored the ordinance. He said he believes it will bring new energy to the downtown area.
"Makes it more vibrant, makes it more walkable. Makes it a free path for our tourist to really enjoy downtown," said Carroll.
Although six city council members approved the entertainment ordinance, Reggie Copeland chose not to vote.
"The reason why I am abstaining because I don't think it's fair to exclude a couple of businesses that have invested their private money into being in downtown Mobile," Copeland said.
Copeland is not the only one who believes the omission is unfair
"To be excluded from the entertainment industry feels like a slap in a face," said The Haberdasher Co-Owner Elise Poche.
Three blocks on Dauphin Street are excluded from the new district, From Cedar to Franklin Streets, because some residents and business owners didn't want to be included.
But The Haberdasher wanted in.
"We bring a lot to the table we are hard workers. We pay a lot of money in city taxes, we pay salaries, we bring jobs to the city," said Poche.
And so did The Alabama Music Box.
"The fact that we embody entertainment and we're not considered to be in the entertainment district is kind of upsetting," said Manger Chris Cole.
No word yet on how police will monitor area's that are off limits to drinkers. Mobile Police Chief Micheal T. Williams believes the department will need more money to monitor the districts.
"I project that I will need $686,000.That's additional policeman, police cars some additional cameras and some other equipment that I may need," said Williams.
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