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Decatur to temporarily allow open container alcohol sales

Business COVID-19 Decatur

Decatur to temporarily allow open container alcohol sales

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Natasha Nori (r) and a friend dine outdoors in downtown Decatur on July 31, 2020. Photo by Dean Hesse.


Decatur, GA  — The Decatur City Commission at its Monday night meeting approved an ordinance to temporarily allow open container alcohol sales.

The measure is intended to help restaurants struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The City Commission also approved items related to the purchase of the Boys and Girls Club in Oakhurst, created a new program to help small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and extended the city’s face-covering ordinance.

The temporary container ordinance allows participating restaurants to sell alcohol for off-premise consumption Friday between 4 p.m. and 1 a.m. the following day, and Saturday, between 3 p.m. and 1 a.m. the following day. 

Customers will be served alcohol in approved plastic cups with a logo reading “Keep it in Decatur” and will also be given wristbands.

The ordinance will be effective October 30 at 4 p.m. and expire Sunday, January 3, 2021 at 1 a.m.

The business districts where the open container ordinance is permitted are Decatur Downtown Business District, Old Depot District, West Ponce Business District, East College Business District, and the Oakhurst Business District.

In other business:

– Planning commission recommendations were approved for a proposed project at the former site of Java Monkey on Church Street in downtown Decatur. The exemption allows the developers to not include parking spaces and be exempt from certain streetscape standards.  A fire destroyed the Java Monkey two years ago and the property has been dormant since that time. Although Java Monkey never had off-street parking, the building had been grandfathered in as a nonconforming use when the current UDO requirements were written. Since the old building will be completely demolished and a new one constructed, it is considered new construction and the new standards apply.

– An ordinance was passed authorizing an intergovernmental agreement between the city and the Urban Redevelopment Agency relating to the issuance of a $5.5 million bond which the city will borrow over 20 years to finance the purchase of the Samuel L. Jones Boys & Girls Club. The club is located at 450 East Lake Drive.

– The existing face-covering ordinance throughout the City of Decatur was extended through November 16.

– The City Commission approved an amendment to a memorandum of understanding related to a small business relief program. The MOU will convert a small business loan program into a small business loan repayment program. The City Commission approved an additional MOU creating a small business grant program. Under the terms of the amendment to the first MOU, the city will repay loans given to small businesses using $500,000 from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The small business grant program will be established using $400,000 in additional CARES funds.

– Finance Director Russ Madison gave a quarterly financial report on the state of general fund budgeted revenues and expenditures, property tax collection rate, newly licensed businesses and new business employees.

– City Manager Andrea Arnold gave an update on the Coronavirus Relief Fund, noting that an additional $275,000 has been allocated to community-related expenses, specifically small business relief, since September. The Commission also intends to consider upgrading HVAC systems in all city buildings. 

– Nine members were appointed to the Impact Fee Advisory Committee.

– Chet Burge was appointed to be the new Commissioner to the Decatur Housing Authority Board.

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