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New open container law proposed for Columbus

Uptown Columbus, Inc. is recommending the new proposal.

Columbus, Ga- Uptown Columbus, Inc. is hoping the Fountain City will expand its open container law to allow patrons in the Uptown entertainment district to enjoy an unfinished alcoholic beverage outside of designated special events. Those pushing the expansion are hoping Columbus will join other cities in Georgia and Alabama already on board. 

"Wait. This downtown is so vibrant. Everyone seems to be outside doing stuff. I can't walk out with a beer?"

It's a question Garrett Lawrence, Co-Owner of Nonic Bar and Kitchen, says he hears all the time from customers at his Uptown kitchen and bar. But if a new proposed open container law is approved, it may be the last time he has to answer it. 

"We get a lot of visitors from out of town who come from places that have open container ordinances, where they can walk around with an open container and drink on the street," says Lawrence. "They come here and they're confused."

Open containers would be allowed every day from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. under the proposed ordinance, which, according to Rebecca Zajac of Uptown Columbus, Inc., is one of several rules.

"This specific sticker will be placed on a non-breakable glass...something that's shatter proof and that will have a specific logo. It'll have the map and the time so that everybody is clear about what the rules are. Again, it's a specific area of Uptown, not the whole city or anything like that," says Zajac.

Stephanie Woodham supports the proposed ordinance. 

"I think that will be an incentive for the customers at any of the restaurants to have a drink and stroll down the riverwalk and see how beautiful our community really is," says Woodham. 

"I honestly don't think there should be a problem with people walking down the strip having a nice drink with their friends and family enjoying themselves," says Columbus resident John Smith. 

But Alexander Colden is giving the ordinance the cold shoulder. 

"It's respect for people. They don;t need a bunch of drunk people out on the streets. That's for inside," says Colden. "Take that someplace else." 

But a plan to address any issues should they arise are already in motion. 

"Uptown Columbus will also work hand-in-hand with the police department to make sure that we are starting out on the right foot," says Zajac. 

The proposed ordinance could go before city council as early as next Tuesday. Zajac tells News 3, if the ordinance passes, proponents hope to see it go into effect in early spring. 

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