November 10, 2023
Atlanta’s nightlife has been struggling to fully recover after the COVID-19 pandemic. But this could change if the plan to extend last call at bars from 2:30 a.m. to 4 a.m. gets the approval of Atlanta city leaders.
The “Atlanta Hospitality Act” is sponsored by City Councilwoman Keisha Sean Waites, it would reverse the 2003 city ordinance that was recommended by Atlanta’s Alcohol Technical Advisory Group. The ordinance was passed in response to a rise in violent crime in Atlanta’s Buckhead district.
City Councilman Michael Bonds says that there are many things to consider with the proposed Atlanta Hospitality Act.
“This has several potential impacts on our city. There is a potential source to raising revenue, “Bonds told Fox 5 Atlanta.
Bond said the extra revenue could also be used to pay for public safety initiatives like the Atlanta Police Department’s take-home car program.
The proposal also has plans for placing surveillance cameras in high-crime areas.
Shelly Brown, a bartender in the Virginia-Highland area, says that she has concerns about extending bar hours.
“I think 2 a.m. is the perfect time for bars to close…everyone is pretty intoxicated at that time,” she told Fox 5 News.
“Crime might go up honestly, she continued. “People are just not in the right mind, people are going to drunk drive.”
A spokesperson from Atlanta Police department declined to comment on whether they believe this could have any impact on public safety
This isn’t the first time that city officials have attempted to repeal the 2003 ordinance. In 2009, former city council member Kwanza Hall introduced legislation requesting for the city to extend hours until 4 a.m., citing the economic benefits for the city.
The Atlanta Hospitality Act will be introduced at the city council’s public safety committee meeting on Nov. 13.
If passed, the proposal would go into effect on New Year’s Eve 2023.