Feedback on alcohol ordinance in Savannah gets heated - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Feedback on alcohol ordinance in Savannah gets heated

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)
SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

The bar card requirement of Savannah's alcoholic beverage ordinance continues to be a hot topic of conversation. 

For now, there's no enforcement of bar cards, but the city is looking to make changes to the ordinance. Bar and restaurant workers went to voice their concerns during a heated debate at the Savannah Civic Center. 

A bar card is needed by any person serving alcohol in the City of Savannah. There hasn't been any enforcement on this for months, and those who work in the industry feel like they're in limbo. People who attended the meeting say the wording of the ordinance is very vague and requiring bar cards for so many employees is causing problems for their operations.  

Burdensome is the word many people who serve alcohol were using Wednesday at the meeting, explaining how the bar card isn't helping them when it comes to the turnover rate of employees. Many people agreed the education part of the bar card is necessary. A class is required for those who need the card. The city says it's needed for public safety reasons and to promote better living conditions. The city also says it's to hold individual servers accountable. It costs $45 and will not be issued to anyone who has been convicted of a violent crime, possession of drugs, or selling to a minor. There is no appeal process for being denied a bar card. overall, people were not happy about the work done to regulate the selling of alcohol so far. 

"We are just kind of spinning our wheels here. Let's get something done and listen to the voice of the service industry - the people who work the other 9 to 5. For people who generate revenue for the city," said Jonathan Hendrick, General Manager, Molly MacPherson's Scottish Pub and Grill. "The wording is terrible. The practice is terrible. Nothing is really being done about this thing. You are talking about 12,000 jobs out there in the city of Savannah, if not more."

"Twenty dollars of that goes to your background check. Also, about $20 of that goes to your alcohol awareness training, and about $5 is sent to the city for administrative handling to process the actual bar card," said Heath Lloyd, Interim Revenue Director, City of Savannah. 

The next community meeting to discuss the ordinance will be held Sept. 6 from 2 p.m.-6 p.m. at the Coastal Georgia Center. 

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