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Coronavirus COVID-19 Updates

Posted on: May 19, 2021

Ordinance Approved to Amend Hours of Operation for Alcohol Licensees Until 2:00 AM

Coronavirus COVID-19 Update - Mayor & Commission

At their May 18, 2021 Regular Session meeting, the Athens-Clarke County Mayor and Commission passed a resolution and an ordinance to amend the code of Athens-Clarke County with respect to hours of operation for alcohol licensees.

The resolution was an amendment to a settlement agreement entered into on August 14, 2020 between the Athens-Clarke County Unified Government (ACCGov) and several bar owners to restrict the hours during which the bar owners and other licensees for the sale of alcoholic beverages (e.g., liquor, beer, and wine) by the drink could serve alcohol to customers. As part of the agreement, the "last call" time moved from its previous 2:00 AM time to a new 11:30 PM time.

ACCGov agreed to the adoption of the revised bar ordinance due to the benefits identified by the Police Department in the separation of bar crowds from the evening/dining retail crowds to both reduce congestion affecting local businesses and reduce potential COVID-19 transmission that could result from said congestion; due to the recent implementation of COVID-19 vaccinations; and due to the bar owners' agreement to promote and encourage COVID-19 vaccinations and co-host a COVID-19 vaccination event.

The parties determined it to be in their mutual interests to enter into an amendment to the settlement agreement and agreed as follows:

  • 1. Promotion of Vaccination Clinic. The bar owners each separately agree to promote a COVID-19 vaccination clinic to take place on a date designated by the Clarke County Health Department to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations.
    • A. For a minimum of ten (10) days leading to the event date, the bar owners will promote the event through their social media platforms and paper postings in their respective venues.
    • B. On the event date, the bar owners and the Clarke County Health Department, and such other appropriate entities as may be designated by the Clarke County Health Department, will co-host a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at a third-party venue designated by the Clarke County Health Department, such as The Classic Center or College Square Plaza, at no cost to the bar owners.
  • 2. The Revised Bar Ordinance. Athens-Clarke County adopted an ordinance effective on Thursday, May 20, 2021, at 12:00 noon that: 
    • A. changes the hours of operation currently set forth in Athens-Clarke County Code Section 6-3-5(i)(3), (4), and (5) from 7:00 AM until 11:30 PM to 7:00 AM until 2:00 AM; and
    • B. changes the time limit for clearing patrons from premises set forth in Athens-Clarke County Code Section 6-3-5(j) from 30 minutes to 45 minutes.