Tybee city leaders consider possible ban on open containers

Tybee city leaders consider possible ban on open containers

TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WTOC) - The City of Tybee Island is looking at the possibility of implementing an open container ban in the downtown area.

The city says 80 to 90 percent of what police respond to are alcohol-related calls during peak season.

After every season, City Manager Shawn Gillen says the city hears from police about what issues they saw, and alcohol-related ones were at the top of the list.

To curb the issue, Gillen says police recommended banning the open carry of alcohol in the commercial area of the island. This would tentatively include 14th Street to 19th Street and from Strand Avenue to Chatham Avenue.

Gillen says police have responded to several instances, recently, where guns were pulled out during fights often having to do with people who drank too much.

Gillen says alcohol on the beach is also in question, in particular the areas of 14th Street to the Back River. This possible ban is at its early stages and Gillen says the city would like to involve public discussion.

“Every time we have an interaction with a police officer and a citizen, especially when they’re drinking heavily, the chances for that to escalate to violence is astronomical and that’s what we’re trying to avoid. You’ll still be able to drink, still, be able to go to the bars and restaurants and order a drink. What you wouldn’t be able to do is walk around in the downtown area with a drink in your hand,” Gillen said.

Gillen says the city wants to meet with businesses and residents about this idea. He says the next discussion will most likely be at their next city council meeting.

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