City of Savannah explains possible revisions to alcohol ordinance

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - In 2016, the City of Savannah implemented several revisions to its alcohol beverage ordinance. Now, city leaders are looking at ways to improve some of the changes.

"So, we had meetings last year in the summertime and early fall to get feedback on where the city needed to go," Bridget Lidy, City of Savannah's Director of Planning and Urban Design, said.

The city is not enforcing the concept of requiring servers to have bar cards, but Lidy says the city still wants to make sure proper training is completed.

"We're looking at the background check and server training portion of the ordinance. We definitely want to keep that in place, but how we keep that in place is what we are determining today," Lidy said.

The city is considering three options to this portion.

The first option is to keep it the same which means all employees that handle alcohol would have to go through some type of training. Also, anyone who broke the law regarding alcohol, committed a crime, or found with possession of marijuana within 36 months, would not be allowed to receive a server permit.

The second option is to adjust the vocabulary where not everyone in the establishment would be required to participate in the training. City leaders would also adjust the 36 months of committing violations to 24 months.

A third option is modeled after an ordinance in Cobb County. Employers would make sure their new employees would undergo background checks with Savannah Police and then have to complete training provided by the employer.

City leaders listened to feedback from Savannah's service industry.

"We feel as if it's important to feel that engagement and we're looking at other programs in the context of downtown to work with these establishments," Lidy said.

Now, the city will make changes and present an update at the end of the month.

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